On 4 March it is World Obesity Day. The obesity prevalence continues to rise at alarming rates across the EU and it is time to reassess views and approaches to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage the disease and its complications. The current European Commission takes an active approach towards shifting the paradigm towards a more outcome-based healthcare system, which goes hand in hand with the “Economy of Wellbeing” plans introduced by the Finnish EU Council Presidency EPSCO Conclusions. It is time to understand that the roots of obesity run deep.

Today, the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) holds its official launch of the Obesity Policy Engagement Network – EU (OPEN-EU). It focuses on following the good practices of EU Member States which take an active stance to start treating obesity as a chronic disease. The network aims to implement actions to promote and improve obesity prevention and management.  During the launch of the Network, it was emphasized how a holistic approach can lead to economic gains for the healthcare systems and the overall society. By breaking stigma’s and starting with early intervention and early diagnosis, it is possible not to help people with obesity and make sure any further complications will be tackled.

Within the Parliament Magazine’s Special Supplement “A new Approach: Changing the Status Quo on Obesity”, EUREGHA was asked to give an opinion from a regional perspective. Valentina Polylas, Director of EUREGHA, highlighted that with almost 80 million people in Europe affected, obesity is a complex disease that is challenging our health systems. She emphasized how Value-Based Healthcare could be the right approach to effectively deliver care for a disease that should be considered as a chronic condition. By maximising value for patients, moving from a supply-driven healthcare system towards a patient-centred system we can deliver the best possible outcomes most efficiently also for obesity patients.

The idea of recognising obesity as a chronic disease receives more and more support from the scientific community. To tackle this disease most efficiently, it is of utmost importance to use a whole system approach to include both environmental factors and individual behaviour changes. Regional and local health authorities are situated best to rethink new strategies for obesity, taking into account a  community-based approach and the importance of value.

This is in line with “Health in All Regions” position paper, where EUREGHA emphasizes health prevention and promotion are the main pillars of every public health strategy.

Today, at World Obesity Day, we want to call for future strategies that meet the ambition of guaranteeing well-being for all. The next multi-annual financial framework and the future European structural and investment funds will be useful tools to implement this vision.

Please find the article here.