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World Obesity Week 2024

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heart and measuring tapeAs we have highlighted previously, World Obesity Week used to be scheduled in November each year. This year, by consensus of the many governmental and international bodies engaged in public health promotion, it has been moved to March, with the start of Obesity Care Week, which runs from the 4th to the 8th of March.  In the U.S., obesity is now being widely regarded as a disease rather than simply being a personal problem. A national nonprofit organization called OAC, Obesity Action Coalition, is giving voice to the millions of Americans affected by obesity. They are taking steps to empower individuals, communities and policy toward better health. Since its inception in 2005, the national coalition comprising more than 70,000 members has grown to be the leading voice on obesity in the U.S. focused on:
  • Raising awareness and improving access to prevention and treatment of the disease of obesity
  • Providing evidence-based education on obesity and its treatments.
  • Fighting to eliminate weight bias and discrimination.
  • Elevating the discussion about weight and its impact on healthcare.
  • Offering a community of support for those affected.
Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said, “Additional support for obesity prevention and treatment is an urgent priority. Obesity is a disease caused by many factors, including eating patterns, physical activity levels, sleep routines, genetics, and certain medications. This means that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, we know the key strategies that work include addressing the underlying social determinants of health such as access to healthcare, healthy and affordable food, and safe places for physical activity.”

What makes obesity different from other diseases?

Obesity stands out from many other diseases as it does not discriminate based on age. Data indicates that a similar percentage of individuals in Western societies struggle with being overweight or obese across all age groups. The overall prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults was 42.4% in 2017–2018. Among younger adults aged 20–39, the incidence was 40.0%, rising to 44.8% among middle-aged adults aged 40–59 and 42.8% among older adults aged 60 and over. There were no significant differences in prevalence by age group. Another distinguishing feature of obesity is that it is a curable disease. The fundamental approach to curing obesity involves achieving an equilibrium in the energy balance equation – between calorie consumption and energy expenditure. When calorie intake surpasses energy expenditure, the surplus calories are stored as fat in the body. This straightforward equation is primarily affected by elements such as diet choices, physical activity levels, genetic predispositions, and even environmental surroundings. For instance, having access to affordable healthy foods, safe areas, and sufficient free time for exercise can significantly impact a person’s ability to manage their weight. But there is no escaping the bottom line: excess calorie intake over energy expenditure almost inevitably leads to weight gain. 

Handling obesity as a disease

Up until very recently, there were only two ways to tackle the problem of weight gain:
  • Reduce calorie intake by eating less
  • Increase energy consumption by exercising more
Now, thanks to the significant revolution brought on by a completely new class of medications that change how the body handles food after it’s eaten. While calorie restriction and an increase in exercise can generally be achieved through self-discipline and behavioral changes, it’s been shown over and over that most people who have already become overweight or obese lack the necessary brain pathways that promote the self-control needed to reverse their condition and keep the weight off. This has made medical treatment necessary in the majority of cases. In the past, there were a few prescription medications that could work to produce some degree of appetite suppression. Still, many doctors were reluctant to prescribe them because of the possibility of unwelcome side effects and the fact that they mainly didn’t provide any long-term cures and produced a life-long need that was close to addiction. A few other medications were designed to change how the body processes the food once it’s eaten. One example is Xenical (generic name: orlistat), which cuts out about one-third of the fats in the food and can produce moderate weight loss. It has the same problem as most appetite suppressants because it only works as long as the medication is being taken, so people become dependent on the drug or else they will regain their lost weight. The revolution came when new drugs created the effects of curbing appetite by creating feelings of satiety after eating smaller meals. Most prominent among these are the newest drugs that were originally intended to treat diabetes but produced substantial weight loss as a side effect. Drugs like Ozempic, Saxenda, and Rybelsus work to reduce total calorie intake by changing how a person feels after a meal. In simple terms, the main chemical in these drugs, called GLP-1RA, can alter appetite by decreasing the speed at which the stomach empties after eating so that you feel full for longer. It also contributes to the ileal brake, a feedback mechanism that optimizes nutrient digestion and absorption in the intestines. The net result is that people treated with GLP-1RA meds feel less hungry throughout the day and are quickly satisfied even after a small meal.

Help is within reach.

Online telehealth platforms like Rxfor.me offer personalized weight loss at prices you can afford. Our online medical team and partner pharmacies provide easy access to cutting-edge weight-loss medications, including Ozempic, Saxenda, and Rybelsus. It’s as simple as one-two-three: Step 1 – Fill in a short medical questionnaire, create your account, and pay for your first prescription. If your application is not approved, you will receive a full refund. Step 2 – One of our partner doctors will review your details and prescribe the appropriate medication. Step 3 – Our pharmacy will ship your medications door-to-door. Even though medications are an option for effectively dealing with obesity, it also requires a commitment to lifestyle adjustments. Treatment success is strongly connected to how a person sticks to these changes. This highlights the significance of receiving support from healthcare professionals, family members, and community resources. 

World Obesity Day – March 4th, 2024

The focus of World Obesity Day this year is to address obesity in the younger population, and the main organizers are UNICEF, WHO, and the World Obesity Federation, who have formed the Global Obesity Coalition. Monday 4th, March is a unified day of action that calls for a cohesive cross-sector response to the obesity crisis. This year’s campaign theme is ‘Let’s talk about obesity and…’. The Global Obesity Coalition wants to leverage the power of World Obesity Day to start cross-cutting conversations and initiate concrete steps to address the problem. For World Obesity Day 2024, the Coalition is hosting a global webinar, including younger people from all over the world who can explore how this issue affects their lives and identify the changes they are demanding. The online global meet is designed to inspire decision-makers in international agencies, academia, civil society and government to listen and act. Make a difference today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is obesity the most significant health problem in the world?

Obesity has been associated with at least 60 chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, and several cancers. It has also been associated with an increased risk of death, particularly among adults younger than 65 years. One study has shown that the prevalence of world obesity has nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016. Almost 13% of the world’s adult population was obese in 2016, but in comparison, the rate in the U.S. is almost triple that. Among adults in 2017, 42.4% aged 20 and over ranked overweight or obese.

Are there more people suffering from obesity or starvation?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), world obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than 1 billion adults overweight, and of these, over 650 million are obese. In contrast, while undernutrition and starvation are still critical issues affecting millions, the scale has tipped towards obesity as a more prevalent concern.

How is obesity a public health issue?

Obesity has widespread implications, affecting millions of people worldwide. World obesity is not only a matter of personal concern but has become a public health issue for several reasons:
  1. The health complications arising from obesity puts a significant strain on healthcare systems. Treating obesity-related conditions requires resources, personnel, and time, which should be directed toward other healthcare requirements.
  2. Addressing obesity involves more than just medical treatment; it requires preventive measures, public health campaigns, and changes in public policy to encourage healthier lifestyles. This includes everything from promoting physical activity to regulating the marketing of unhealthy foods.
  3. Obesity has social and economic dimensions, affecting people’s well-being, self-esteem, and economic productivity. 
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