World Obesity Day 2020

by Ian Pitts

World Obesity Day 2020HCC Press Release for World Obesity Day

World Obesity Day 2020 – The Roots of Obesity Run Deep
March 4th, 2020

The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) joins with the rest of the world in observing World Obesity Day (WOD) which will this year for the first time be celebrated on March 4th; having previously been observed on October 11th. The first WOD took place in 2015 with the second WOD in 2016 focusing on childhood obesity and aligned with the WHO Commission report on Ending Childhood Obesity.

The HCC on the occasion of WOD 2020, supports a comprehensive package of prioritized context specific policies for policy advocacy, reflected in the ROOTS Declaration to which the HCC is a contributor and signatory. The ROOTS Declaration reads as follows;

We, the signatories to this Declaration, urgently request that national and local governments work to understand the ROOTS of obesity and use them to take more effective action on this disease. Every government in the world has committed to international targets to address obesity – a chronic disease affecting over 650 million adults and 125 million children and youth worldwide. The targets include a zero increase in obesity prevalence between 2010 and 2025. Despite this commitment, not a single country is on track to meet this goal. There is no excuse for this inaction. People with obesity require respectful and equitable access to treatment and clinical management services. Those at risk require equitable opportunities for obesity prevention. These actions require systematic, multi-sectoral policy action by each government that recognises and addresses the underlying ROOTS of obesity:

Recognise officially that obesity is a chronic, multifactorial disease as well as a driver of other diseases, with serious implications for individuals, families, societies and economies.

Obesity monitoring and surveillance, and innovative research into the causes and effective strategies for preventing and treating obesity, must be vigorously promoted and supported.

Obesity prevention strategies must be developed, tested and implemented across the life course, from pre-conception, through childhood, and into older age.

Treatment of obesity, using evidence-based, dignified, non-stigmatising and person-centred approaches – including behavioural, pharmacological, digital, nutritional, physical-activity based and surgical interventions – should be accessible to all people with obesity.

Systems-based approaches should be applied to the management of obesity, aimed at strengthening health systems, enabling obesity’s incorporation into primary and secondary care, and addressing the environmental, social and commercial roots of obesity.

Finally, we call on governments and policymakers to join civil society organisations around the world in supporting and promoting 4 March as World Obesity Day, using this day each year as an opportunity to reinforce and recommit each year to greater collective action, to review progress against this Declaration, and to further raise awareness about this serious, chronic disease.

The HCC congratulates the World Obesity Federation for the release of the Report: Obesity: Missing the 2025 Targets which rings alarm bells and paints a dismal picture of inaction and prospects of rising levels of obesity. The report builds on the Global Atlas on Childhood Obesity and provides the latest evidence for progress towards meeting the WHO obesity target of no increase in the prevalence of adult obesity between 2010 and 2025. It also presents data on the costs and comorbidities of obesity as well as country reports for 200 countries including countries in the Caribbean. 13/14 of CARICOM countries are grossly off track and have less than a 6% chance of meeting the 2025 targets. Currently, childhood levels of obesity data from eight (8) Caribbean islands in both sexes, ages 5-19 years: Antigua and Barbuda (11.5%), Bahamas (17.3%), Barbados (12.3%), Belize (12.2%), Jamaica (13%), Saint Kitts and Nevis (12.3%), Saint Lucia (8.8%) and Trinidad and Tobago (11.1%).

The HCC is also utilizing the day to underscore our Civil Society Call to Urgent Action for the Caribbean Region to Accelerate Nutrition Policies for the Creation of Healthy Environments for Caribbean to tackle childhood obesity and link generally to the global campaign and supports the activities of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados (HSFB) and the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) on this day. Our Call to Urgent Action calls on civil society, the private sector and CARICOM Political Leadership to accelerate nutrition policies for the creation of healthy environments for the Caribbean children by implementing a number of key action steps.

Our leaders need to deliver on their high-level commitments to tackle overweight and obesity by implementing the below three (3) priority nutrition policies with a matter of urgency:

  1. Mandatory Front of Package Nutrition Warning Labelling (FOPL) to empower consumers to make healthier food choices.
  2. Banning the sale and marketing of sweet beverages in school settings and ensuring the availability of free drinking water to reduce the consumption of these beverages among children.
  3. Taxation of sweet beverages of at least 20% to reduce the consumption of these beverages among children.

The HCC encourages all members as well as all Caribbean people to create O selfies and tag us on social media @healthycaribbean with hashtags #CaribbeanMoves #ReduceChildhoodObesity #WOD2020 and/or email us at wod@healthycaribbean.org


Additional HCC Obesity Resources


World Obesity Day 2020

March 4, 2020 was the first unified World Obesity Day.

The Theme was THE ROOTS OF OBESITY RUN DEEP – Together we can create a healthier future.

Explore the roots of obesity:

  1. Biology
  2. Food
  3. Genetic Risk
  4. Healthcare Access
  5. Life Events
  6. Marketing
  7. Mental Health
  8. Sleep
  9. Stigma

The Declaration for World Obesity Day signed by Sir Trevor on behalf of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition reads as follows:

We, the signatories to this Declaration, urgently request that national and local governments work to understand the ROOTS of obesity and use them to take more effective action on this disease.

Every government in the world has committed to international targets to address obesity – a chronic disease affecting over 650 million adults and 125 million children and youth worldwide. The targets include a zero increase in obesity prevalence between 2010 and 2025. Despite this commitment, not a single country is on track to meet this goal.

There is no excuse for this inaction. People with obesity require respectful and equitable access to treatment and clinical management services. Those at risk require equitable opportunities for obesity prevention. These actions require systematic, multi-sectoral policy action by each government that recognises and addresses the underlying ROOTS of obesity.

Read the full declaration here.


Obesity: Missing the 2025 Targets Report

World Obesity Day 2020Obesity: missing the 2025 targets provides the latest evidence for progress towards meeting the WHO obesity target of no increase in the prevalence of adult obesity between 2010 and 2025. It also presents data on the costs and comorbidities of obesity as well as country reports for 200 countries.

Obesity is a chronic relapsing disease affecting  a rapidly increasing number of people worldwide. By 2025, global obesity prevalence is predicted to reach 18% in men and surpass 21% in women.

Left untreated, the consequences of obesity are likely to escalate, as the numbers of people living with obesity rises and as the prolonged duration of obesity increases the risk of non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease and certain cancers, needing more extensive and costly interventions.

Read/download the report here.

CARICOM Country Scorecards:

World Obesity Day

World Obesity Day

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