Global Obesity Roundtable – Taking on the Worldwide Obesity Challenge

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Some of the world’s largest obesity-focused associations came together last week in an international effort to actively engage in creating partnerships, transferring knowledge, and finding solutions to help address the world’s obesity epidemic.

“We have a global problem on our hands, with a chronic disease that needs to be acknowledged, properly understood, and addressed with effective clinical treatment options,” said Wendy Scinta, MD, MS, FOMA, the current president of the Obesity Medicine Association.

Some of the world’s largest obesity-focused associations came together last week in an international effort to actively engage in creating partnerships, transferring knowledge, and finding solutions to help address the world’s obesity epidemic.

The Global Obesity Roundtable, in partnership with Novo Nordisk, Inc., was hosted in New York City, NY, on May 30-31, 2018. This second in a series of events brought together some of the largest obesity-focused associations from around the world—the Obesity Medicine Association, Canadian Obesity Network, World Obesity Federation, Obesity Action Coalition, and The Obesity Society—to discuss and find solutions to one of the world's most pressing challenges: how to draw attention to and effectively treat the chronic disease of obesity.

This two-day event marked the launch of a number of critical initiatives that will help bridge the education gap for healthcare providers, raise public awareness, and bring these organizations closer to move the needle in dealing with this chronic, worldwide disease in a more unified fashion.

Obesity is an ever-growing global health problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that for the first time in human history, the number of people with overweight and obesity rivals the number of people who are underweight. The population of people with overweight and obesity has expanded rapidly in recent decades, and worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.

“Healthcare providers around the globe need in-depth, practical, evidence- and clinical-based education on what causes obesity to learn how to effectively treat and manage this chronic disease in a clinical setting. The old ‘eat less and exercise more’ way of thinking is clearly not the answer anymore,” said Claudia Randall, Executive Director of the Obesity Medicine Association.

Just two years ago, WHO reported 39 percent of adults ages 18 years and older were overweight, and 13 percent had obesity. A large percentage of this population live in countries where obesity kills more people than underweight-related issues, and these numbers are on the rise. Obesity is not restricted to adults; more than 340 million children and adolescents ages 5-19 are overweight, according to a WHO study. Children and adults in many countries around the world are often vulnerable because they are exposed to high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, energy-dense, and micronutrient-poor foods, which tend to be lower in cost but also lower in nutrients.

“We have a global problem on our hands, with a chronic disease that needs to be acknowledged, properly understood, and addressed with effective clinical treatment options. The idea that obesity is solely a lifestyle choice is just not the case; it is much more complex than that,” said Wendy Scinta, MD, MS, FOMA, the current president of the Obesity Medicine Association. “Obesity is a multifactorial condition that affects multiple systems in the body. These factors and systems affected are unique for each individual who struggles with the disease.”

“Everyone who participated in the Global Obesity Roundtable has the in-depth knowledge that can benefit millions if shared with other global thought leaders,” Scinta added.

The long-reaching health implications that will result from ignoring this chronic problem are astronomical. Cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis), and some cancers are often directly influenced by the underlying disease of obesity. Globally, this is a $2 trillion problem, on par with tobacco abuse and global terrorism.

“Obesity must be globally addressed and treated just like any other chronic disease to help individuals achieve life-long health and weight goals permanently,” said Randall. “We are excited to continue the work that we started in New York with our friends from around the world, and we will continue to draw attention to this growing global problem.”

About the Obesity Medicine Association
The Obesity Medicine Association is the largest organization of clinicians dedicated to preventing, treating, and reversing the disease of obesity. Members of OMA believe treating obesity requires a scientific and individualized clinical approach comprised of nutrition, physical activity, behavior, and medication. When personalized, this comprehensive approach helps patients achieve their weight and health goals. Visit obesitymedicine.org to learn more.

Note to journalists: To educate media representatives on how to appropriately discuss the chronic disease of obesity, the Obesity Medicine Association, the Obesity Action Coalition, the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, The Obesity Society, and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery have developed the Guidelines for Media Portrayals of Individuals Affected by Obesity. We encourage you to refer to these guidelines as you cover stories about obesity.

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Chris Martin
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