Obesity and its root causes
World obesity day encourages practical solutions to help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, undertake proper treatment, and reverse the obesity crisis.
Obesity rates have nearly tripled since 1975 and have increased almost five times in children and adolescents, affecting people of all ages from all social groups in both developed and developing countries. Obesity is a major risk factors for various noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and various forms of cancer.
People with obesity are constantly shamed and blamed because many - including doctors, policymakers, and others - do not fully understand the root causes of obesity, which are often a complex mixture of dietary, lifestyle, genetic, psychological, sociocultural, economic and environmental factors. It is time we break the cycle of shame and blame and reevaluate our approach for addressing this complex global public health problem.
Together we can make a difference. There is a lot we can do, including restricting the marketing to children of food and drinks high in fats, sugar and salt; taxing sugary drinks, and providing better access to affordable, healthy food. In our cities and towns, we need to make space for safe walking, cycling, and recreation. We must teach our children healthy habits from early on.
WHO is responding to the global obesity crisis on many fronts, including monitoring global trends and prevalence, the development of a broad range of guidance addressing the prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity, and providing implementation support and guidance such as the Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.