Brussels, 4 March 2022: Today the MEP Interest Group on Obesity and Health Systems Resilience, launches a Joint Declaration outlining the key components necessary to be included in any NCD Framework Roadmap on obesity.
Launched at a virtual European Parliament event, on World Obesity Day Europe, the Declaration comes a year to the day that the European Commission officially categorised obesity as a chronic disease in 2021 and updated its definition to the following
“Pre-obesity (overweight) and obesity are medical conditions marked by an abnormal and/or excessive accumulation of body fat that presents a risk to health (WHO, 2019). Obesity is a chronic relapsing disease, which in turn acts as a gateway to a range of other non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer (European Commission, 2021)”
However, the Joint Declaration which was co-created by over 100 stakeholders at EU level and across five EU Member States, comes in response to the continued lack of inclusion and prioritisation of obesity as a chronic disease in EU level strategies and NCD frameworks.
Most recently, this omission has been reflected in the European Commission’s ‘Healthier Together Initiative – NCD Roadmap” which seeks to provide a collaborative environment to support EU Member States in creating an EU level template for National Plans for major NCDs.
The Joint-Declaration was developed as the result of a cross-country study trip in February 2022 to Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy and Spain hosted by the MEP Interest Group. Its main objective was to investigate which key components should be included in frameworks for obesity National Plans at an EU level; namely for early diagnosis, treatment and long-term management.
The onsite visits, comprised of national stakeholders and policymakers, were followed up by an online plenary session on 1 March 2022 across all interested and participating parties to draw consensus across key EU member states as to which common components should be prioritised in an EU level framework for Obesity National Plans.
Priorities identified by all stakeholders for inclusion in an Obesity NCD Plan Framework include:
- Securing underlying infrastructures that enable standardised guidelines, primary and secondary data capture and evaluation along the life course
- Mandatory integration of obesity as an NCD and the biology of obesity for medical education as per the EU Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive. This should be integrated both for basic medical training as well as for specialist training across related disciplines.
- Specific education and training for Primary Care health professionals.
- Building funding mechanisms that enable the availability of resources and reimbursement of evidence-based treatment and management pathways
- Enabling access to full portfolio of appropriate treatment options