London, 29th June 2020: As the UK Government prepares to release its obesity plans next month, we welcome the Prime Minister’s reassessment and prioritisation of obesity in the UK. The increased risk of COVID-19 on people living with obesity has illuminated the need for increased care.
Where in the past there has been a focus on intervening to prevent obesity in children and young people, we are encouraged by the early indication that a holistic approach may be taken which prioritises obesity along the full life course. As well as increased support with prevention and management, we must harness a full range of tools depending on individual cases, from supporting combined lifestyle behavioural changes to bariatric surgery. Action taken to make treatment available and accessible, needs to be supported by a system-wide approach to addressing obesity stigma, social inequalities, the built environment, food manufacturing and advertising and media portrayal among other environmental contributors to obesity.
Not only does obesity increase risk of more severe COVID-19 outcomes, it is also one of the UK’s clear health inequalities, disproportionately impacting many groups including some BAME communities, and those from areas of socio-economic disadvantage.
There is a short and long-term imperative to reduce obesity prevalence in the UK. We are pleased to hear the UK Government are making obesity a priority and expect that the renewed interest will be met with ambitious targets and resources.
The Obesity Policy Engagement Network (OPEN) UK is a partnership programme, bringing together different expertise across obesity to improve obesity care in the UK. The Secretariat of OPEN UK is funded by Novo Nordisk. Novo Nordisk has had no influence over the content of this press release.
OPEN is a sustained global initiative aiming to achieve national support for improved obesity care.
OPEN is a network for national coalitions of public health, policy, patient representatives and other thought leaders in the field of obesity with representation in over 15 countries including the UK, Italy, Germany and Spain.
OPEN seeks to provide national policy advocates with the opportunity to share diverse perspectives on a common challenge, identify solutions and collaborate to address the current barriers and challenges to effective obesity care.
Through the global network, members obtain insights and tangible tools on how to put in place effective national obesity strategies which deliver workable, effective solutions that successfully support people living with obesity.