The Challenge of Obesity in the WHO European Region and the Strategies for Response

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Francesco Branca, Haik Nikogosian, Tim Lobstein
WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2007 - Medical - 323 pages
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In response to the obesity epidemic, the WHO Regional Office for Europe held a conference in November 2006, at which all Member States adopted the European Charter on Counteracting Obesity, which lists guiding principles and clear action areas at the local, regional, national, and international levels for a wide range of stakeholders. This book comprises the second of two publications resulting from the conference. It presents the many technical papers written for the conference and updated for publication by a large group of experts in public health, nutrition, and medicine.

Using a wide range of evidence drawn from countries across and beyond the WHO European Region, this book illustrates the dynamics of the epidemic and its impact on public health throughout the Region, particularly in eastern countries. It describes how factors that increase the risk of obesity are shaped in different settings, such as the family, school, community, and workplace. It makes both ethical and economic arguments for accelerating action against obesity, and analyses effective programs and policies in different government sectors, such as education, health, agriculture and trade, urban planning and transport. The book also describes how to design policies and programs to prevent obesity and how to monitor progress. Finally, it calls for specific action by stakeholders: not only government sectors but also the private sector, including food manufacturers, advertisers, and traders, and professional consumers, international and intergovernmental organizations such as the European Union.

It is time to act: 150 million adults and 15 million children in the Region are expected to be obese by 2010. Obesity not only harms the health and well-being of a vast proportion of the population, and generates large expenditures by health services, but also has a striking and unacceptable impact on children. This book uses evidence to spell out ideas and information that will enable stakeholders across the Region, particularly policy-makers, to work to stop and then reverse the obesity epidemic in Europe.

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