Obesity syndemics, systems and summits…

In 2015, the second Lancet Series on Obesity editorial concluded that the “little progress had been made beyond acknowledging that obesity is a worldwide problem”. This prompted the Lancet Commission on Obesity, which changed direction over its three years of development to address the wider context of three co-existing pandemics simultaneously - obesity, under-nutrition and climate change. Hot on its heels came the launch of the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health focusing on sustainable food systems to provide a healthy diet while minimising planetary damage.

 

These scientific reports are key documents to consider in the upcoming debate and design of an Obesity Strategy for Australia, which kicked off this year with the Obesity Summit held in Canberra on 15 February. The 1-day meeting provided a comprehensive overview of perspectives from clinicians, academics and policy-makers touching on the need for multidisciplinary care models, physical activity and diet; the importance of the first 2000 days; stigma and eating disorders; population health initiatives; technological advances; and the role of pharmacotherapies. The main take-home message from the Summit was for policy-makers to look to the abundance of evidence available regarding effective and cost-effective obesity prevention interventions and to act. The development of the National Obesity Strategy (inclusive of a National Nutrition Strategy) is now in the hands of Queensland Health, jurisdictional lead.

 

The Obesity Collective (an initiative of Obesity Australia) is providing strong advocacy around this issue, providing a unified voice and ensuring it remains a priority.

 

Alessandro Demaio also recently addressed the National press Club, imploring government to “step up”, invest in prevention and develop a comprehensive plan for prevention – read more.