EASO Obesity Supplement 2020

A special Parliament Magazine supplement, produced in partnership with the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), that calls upon EU policymakers to take a fresh look at helping people with obesity.


Obesity prevalence continues to rise at alarming rates across the EU, with some Member States reporting 90 percent of their population as overweight or having obesity.

ith obesity estimated to cost around €70m per year to health systems alone, it is high time we reassessed our long-held views and our approach to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and long term management of obesity and its related complications.

Major advances in the scientific community are driving consensus that obesity is a chronic, relapsing disease whose onset and disease progression needs to be addressed from a policy-through-to- practice perspective if we hope to collectively stem the tide of this crisis.

At EASO, we are delighted with the European Commission’s paradigm shift in its approach to health outcomes, and to pragmatically achieving the desired impact through a cross-cutting policy mission approach, with public health and data harnessing at its heart.

Many opportunities to make a collaborative difference exist within this mandate; not least the upcoming review of the European Semester process which will afford policymakers - at EU, national and regional levels - the opportunity to actively contribute to the realisation of the Economy of Wellbeing called for by the Finnish EU Council Presidency EPSCO Conclusions.

In addition, the new Beating Cancer Plan provides a clear cut opportunity to make the connection that by treating obesity, we can prevent certain cancers.

We are very aware that scientific evidence is one element of the puzzle in stemming this crisis. This is why we are delighted to collaborate with other stakeholders as part of the Obesity Policy Engagement Network - EU (OPEN-EU).

Together, we can forge that pathway for a sustainable, systems approach to addressing the onset and progression of obesity along the life course.

We can take inspiration from EU Member States who have not only started to take a chronic disease approach to obesity in terms of political good will, but have also enshrined these principles into law; most recently the case of Italy where on 13 November 2019, the Camera dei Deputati of the Italian Parliament voted unanimously to approve a motion that recognises obesity as a chronic disease.

The Chamber of Deputies called for the implementation of specific actions to promote and improve obesity prevention and management.

The House Assembly approved a bipartisan motion (with a full majority of 458/458 parliamentarians in favour) committing the Government to implement actions.

The timing is perfect to adopt a new sustainable approach to obesity as a chronic disease. EASO and our collaborators within the policy community look forward to working with all actors to make this a reality.