Morbid obesity is a critical global health crisis that is increasing at an alarming rate. According to the World Health Organization, obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight, with 650 million of them considered obese. The prevalence of obesity is highest in adults over the age of 60, but it is also rising rapidly in children and adolescents.
The health consequences of obesity are well-documented and include an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and an overall reduction in life expectancy. The economic burden of obesity is also significant, with the estimated cost of obesity-related health care and lost productivity topping $2 trillion dollars each year.
Given the scale of the obesity epidemic and the serious health consequences associated with it, you would think that there would be a robust and well-funded global effort to address the problem. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, the vast majority of countries around the world have inadequate policies and programmes in place to prevent and treat obesity.
One of the biggest problems is a lack of political will to tackle the issue. Obesity is often seen as a lifestyle choice, not a disease, and so it is not given the same level of attention or resources as other health threats. This is despite the fact that, like other chronic diseases, obesity has a strong genetic component and is often difficult to treat without medical intervention.
Another problem is that the commercial interests of the food and beverage industry are often put ahead of public health. The industry has a long history of lobbying against government regulations that would improve the healthfulness of the food supply or make it easier for people to eat less and exercise more.
As a result, the global response to the obesity epidemic has been woefully inadequate. While some progress has been made in recent years, such as the adoption of sugar taxes in a number of countries, much more needs to be done.
To truly turn the tide on obesity, we need bold and ambitious global action. This must start with a change in mindset, with obesity being recognised as a serious disease that requires urgent attention and investment. We also need strong and effective policies to combat the obesogenic environment, including regulations on the food and beverage industry, and programmes to promote healthy eating and active living.
Most importantly, we need to ensure that these policies and programmes are equitable and accessible to all, regardless of income or social status. The current situation, where the people who are most in need of help are the least likely to receive it, is unacceptable.
If we are to ever get the obesity epidemic under control, we need to start making some radical changes. Equity must be at the heart of all our efforts, or we will continue to fail the billions of people affected by this devastating disease.
According to the World Health Organization, obesity is a global epidemic, with over 1.4 billion adults worldwide considered obese. In the last three decades, the prevalence of obesity has nearly doubled in adults and children. Despite this staggering increase, there remains a critical lack of equity in obesity therapy, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
There are a number of reasons for this inequity. First, the cost of obesity therapy is prohibitive for many. Obesity treatments are often not covered by insurance, and even when they are, the costs can be prohibitive. Second, there is a lack of access to care. In many low- and middle-income countries, there are simply no providers trained in obesity management. And even when providers are available, they may not have the necessary resources, such as weight-loss medications or bariatric surgery.
The lack of equity in obesity therapy has serious implications for both individual health and public health. Untreated obesity can lead to a number of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and lipid disorders. These chronic diseases, in turn, impose a significant burden on healthcare systems and economies.
There is an urgent need for action to address the inequity in obesity therapy. Governments and policy-makers must create an environment that supports the prevention and treatment of obesity. This includes ensuring access to care, increasing insurance coverage for obesity treatments, and investing in obesity research and training. Only by addressing this critical issue can we hope to achieve a healthier world.