As we build a new reality across Europe in a Post COVID-19 era, a silent pandemic – the chronic disease (Non-Communicable Disease) of obesity – will persist unless we, as policymakers and civil society alike take action. The time to act is now.
On April 20th, over 300 key European stakeholders joined the launch of the MEP Interest Group on Obesity and Health System Resilience.
There was a strong consensus on the need to not only include but prioritise policies that can support access to the treatment and long-term management of obesity as chronic relapsing disease at all levels of public administrations and democracies.
EASO, OPEN-EU and the EU Health Coalition along with 6 MEPs call for alignment of the Council with the European Parliament and European Commission in implementing obesity as a key non-communicable disease as part of the EU4Health Programme and beyond in an open letter.
The European Commission Strategic Foresight Report “Charting the course towards a more resilient Europe” (and related roadmap to implementation) highlighted the need for resilience across EU policy portfolio. It specifically identifies and prioritises only two NCDs – cancer and obesity – as priorities which pose both opportunities and challenges to be surmounted in the coming years.
The European Commission and the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) launched a joint plan of action on Short-term EU health preparedness for COVID-19 outbreaks. Notably, for the first time, people with obesity were formally listed as part of the category of medically vulnerable groups “with underlying health conditions (e.g. hypertension, diabetes, obesity, etc.)”