Health Professionals Sign Decalogue to Address ObesityBy Sofía Garduño | Fri, 03/04/2022 - 12:59
Over 1,000 health professionals signed a decalogue to address the obesity epidemic challenging public health without stigma in Mexico. The country has reached alarming levels of overweight and obesity, warns the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The decalogue “Becoming better: the need for immediate action to address obesity. A position statement to address obesity” provides strategies that Mexico can adopt to prevent and treat obesity without discrimination. The document was signed in commemoration of the World Obesity Day, observed every March 4. The recommendations include actions at the population and individual levels based on scientific evidence. The decalogue is also supported by international health organizations due to its relevance to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), said Simón Barquera, Director, Research Center in Nutrition and Health (CINyS), National Institute of Public Health (INSP).
Apart from affecting Mexicans’ quality of life, obesity also has a major impact on the country’s economy. In 2019, obesity cut 2.1 percent of Mexico’s GDP through chronic diseases and its impact on the economy is only expected to keep increasing, according to the World Obesity Federation and the Research Triangle Institute, as reported by MBN. The OECD forecasts that by 2050 obesity and its related diseases will represent 8.9 percent of health spending.
The OECD also forecasts that obesity and overweight will reduce the labor force by 2.4 million workers per year by limiting those who suffer it from being hired. Those who suffer from overweight and obesity are stigmatized because of the belief that it is a matter of personal responsibility and failure to take into consideration the complexity of living in an obesogenic environment, said Lesly Vejar, Researcher, INSP’s CINyS. For this reason, health professionals have committed to provide respectful and empathetic treatment.
Moreover, obesity is one of the principal causes of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension and cardiac diseases, said Donna Ryan, Emeritus Professor, Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Worldwide, chronic diseases cause 71 percent of deaths and are the primary cause of disability. In Mexico, before COVID-19, 80 percent of deaths were caused by a chronic disease and in 2021, over 1.5 million new cases were diagnosed, as reported by MBN.
To prevent and address obesity’s consequences, the decalogue invites governments to strengthen population strategies for food orientation and communication, implement and evaluate the policies related to prevention and treatment in commercial interests and develop sustainable and active environments, among other suggestions.