By Matthew Roscoe • 21 April 2022 • 9:43
Image: Towfiqu barbhuiya
A HUGE number of adults and children in Spain are reportedly obese, according to a study from Spain’s Obesity Policy Engagement Network (OPEN).
The global Obesity Policy Engagement Network (OPEN), which aims to improve obesity care through various actions, has arrived in Spain to promote the prevention and effective treatment of the disease.
According to OPEN Spain, obesity is one of the most prevalent and least diagnosed diseases in history that affects 8.4 million adults and 1.5 million children in Spain and by 2030 it is expected to reach 30 per cent of the adult population, according to endocrinologists and heads of hospital obesity units.
At a press conference to launch Spain’s version of OPEN on Wednesday, April 20, the endocrinologist Susana Monereo stressed that obesity is a “chronic and recurrent disease, which overloads all organs and invades them of fat and is the cause of the most prevalent diseases”, and yet 73 per cent of adults with this disease do not perceive themselves as obese.
“This is undoubtedly a very worrying situation,” warned Dr Monereo. “We are facing one of the most prevalent, underestimated, underdiagnosed and undertreated diseases in history. Healthy eating and exercise are an important part of the treatment of obesity, but many other aspects must be assessed, including genetics, in order to establish an individualised therapeutic strategy,” said the expert.
“It is a disease that generates more diseases, so more time and resources must be devoted to it at the social and health levels. It is a reality that has an impact on all medical specialities,” said Dr Monereo.
A statement from the Obesity Policy Engagement Network outlined the group.
“Through a partnership between the Obesity Society (OS), the Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), the World Obesity Federation (WOF), the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) and Novo Nordisk, OPEN offers representatives from each affiliate the opportunity to share perspectives on the common challenge of obesity.
“Based on the different experiences, the aim is to identify solutions and collaborate to overcome current barriers and challenges to effectively address it. OPEN has national coalitions in more than 15 countries, including Canada, the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Australia,” it said.
Speaking specifically about arriving in Spain, Dr Antonio José Torres, Professor of Surgery and Director of the Multidisciplinary Obesity Treatment Unit at the Hospital Madrid Montepríncipe,
“Being part of this global network is very enriching and will allow us to obtain the necessary information and tools to help update and implement our own effective national strategies against the challenge of obesity, so that we have viable and effective solutions.”
Faced with the problem of obesity in Spain, OPEN Spain said they aim to offer support to minimise the consequences of this disease. “We want to be the link between public health policy makers, patients, scientific societies and obesity experts to identify the best solutions and remove all current barriers to effective obesity care,” said Dr. Felipe Casanueva, member of OPEN Spain and Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Santiago de Compostela.
“This is a decisive measure to reverse all the limitations we are facing,” said Casanueva. “We must all get involved in stopping this pandemic, from institutions to companies, including the media. Information is necessary, but always accompanied by good strategies and measures,” he added.
Dr Torres and Dr Susana Monereo, member of OPEN Spain and head of the Obesity, Metabolic and Endocrine Unit at the Ruber Internacional Hospital (Madrid), also insisted on this need.
“We must not forget that it is a chronic and multifactorial pathology and, as such, it requires an active policy for a correct approach and intervention. If this is not done, obesity figures will continue to grow and an unprecedented additional burden will be added to both the National Health System and society in general,” the three experts said.
Obesity represents a direct cost overrun of €2,000 million per year for the National Health System, and it is estimated that it will exceed €3,000 million in 2030. It also implies a significant increase in the consumption of resources and a decrease in labour productivity by 479,000 workers per year.
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Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]
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