World Innovation Summit for Health 2013: Obesity is a global public health pandemic


DOHA, QATAR:   Health leaders must look beyond their own health systems and develop partnerships with other sectors such as education, labor, agriculture, and finance in order to tackle the issue of obesity and Non Communicable Diseases, a panel of experts said today.

In an obesity report published at the summit today, experts, examined obesity related health problems in eight countries, as well as the economic and social burdens it creates. The report also observed that obesity is a non-communicable disease but has reached epidemic proportions globally and has led to a sharp increase in related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  

The Forum highlighted recent innovations which could be adapted to meet the needs of different countries and help them develop affordable, effective strategies to prevent and manage obesity.  It also emphasized that health ministries around the world must do more to champion the cause of measures which prevent the development of obesity in the first place, including a frank examination of the forces at play in their food systems.

Professor Shiriki Kumanyika of the International Obesity Task Force, University of Pennsylvania and Obesity Forum Chair said, "Public recognition of obesity as an important and non-communicable health crisis is not a debatable issue anymore.  Besides the financial healthcare costs related to obesity and its resulting illnesses, there will be other draining costs on economies. Globally we need to do more  to build awareness in our schools and worksites."

Dr Louis Aronne said:  "What starts as something behavioral in the environment turns in to something physical.  We have got to get much more serious and aggressive at a very early stage if we are going to make any progress."

Obesity is one of eight areas being discussed at the Summit taking place in Doha, Qatar on 10 and 11 December, where world leading experts will join an influential cast of heads of state, government ministers, academics, clinicians, policy makers and business leaders to discuss innovative solutions to some of the most pressing global health challenges.  As well as Obesity, there will be reports on Accountable Care, Big Data and Healthcare, End of Life Care, Mental Health, Antimicrobial Resistance, Patient Engagement and Road Traffic Injuries.

The Right Honourable Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, Executive Chair of WISH and Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London added, "The solution to the obesity pandemic may well lie within the scope of countries' individual health care systems. Policy makers are urged to forge meaningful partnerships with other sectors like education, agriculture, finance, among others to realign health care assets to address obesity."

WISH opened today in Doha and is under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

In pictures: World Innovation Summit for Health 2013

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov