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Over half the European population is now overweight or obese. Despite being high on the policy agenda, obesity rates are still increasing and so are their societal effects. This session aims to build awareness of obesity as a key risk factor for chronic diseases, stimulate debate on policies to address obesity and discuss how stigmas attached to overweight can be overcome.This event is hosted by Medtronic, moderated by João Nabais, President of the International Diabetes Federation European Region and with participation of Michele Cecchini, Health Economist and Policy Analyst at the OECD Health Division.

3 September 2015 (14.30-16.00) Passage Room, Residence Palace, 155 Rue de la Loi, Brussels



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Note to the debate

This session aims to build awareness of obesity as risk factor for a wide range of chronic diseases, stimulate debate about how chronic disease prevention policies can and should address obesity (including prevention, management and treatment), and discuss how stigmasattached to obesity can be overcome.

Over half the European adult population is now overweight or obese. Obesity rates have doubled or tripled in many countries since the 1980s with lifestyles being the main drivers of change. Primary prevention policies are therefore consistently identified as the most cost-effective long-term population strategies to prevent obesity and associated harm.

At the same time, many people across Europe are currently obese andface increased risks of associated chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and several kinds of cancer. Around 7% of EU health budgets are spent on obesity-related diseases each year.

People facing obesity should have access to appropriate, multi-disciplinary care and treatment to help manage and reduce their long-term health risks and improve quality of life. All this without losing sight of socio-economic inequalities, as people from disadvantaged groups are disproportionally more likely to be obese and face obstacles in access to healthcare.

While obesity is quite high on the policy agenda, a recent survey by EASO revealed considerable gaps in knowledge on obesity among many policy-makers.

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