World Obesity Day: Preventive measures alone won’t help reverse the obesity pandemic

Posted On: 4th March 2022

TDMR Europe welcomes World Obesity Day (WOD) which returns this year with the theme “Everybody Needs to Act”. Taking place annually on 4th March, WOD is a unified day of action that calls for a cohesive, cross-sector response to the obesity crisis. Today a variety of organisations and decision-makers across Europe used the occasion of WOD to talk about their increased efforts to tackle obesity.

The MEP Interest Group on Obesity and Health System Resilience hosted an online event focusing on national action plans for obesity in EU. Since its launch in April 2021, the Group has been investigating the situation of obesity across five EU Member States. In the event “From Words to Action: Addressing Obesity Together”, the Chair of the Group MEP Weiss and the Vice Chairs MEP Cerdas and MEP Solis-Pérez took stock of the past year and discussed how to move forward to support EU Member States in evidence-based policy interventions that can enable them to better address the obesity challenge.

Also ahead of WOD, WHO/Europe launched the “Obesity in Europe” report looking at how to improve awareness and understanding of the causes of obesity and the actions needed to address them. The organisation is focusing on changing the obesity policy in Europe, building the right support systems and prioritising obesity as a health issue.

While obesity has been on the political agenda of Europe for many years now, obesity rates are not only rising but have tripled in many European countries.  Public policy has stepped up efforts to tackle obesity, but current strategies mostly focus on promoting healthy eating and exercise. Although regular exercise and a healthy diet are good advice to prevent overweight and obesity, consideration towards those who are already obese is needed if we are to adequately and substantially reverse obesity rates.

TDMR Europe has recently published a position paper on obesity, stressing that preventive measures alone won’t help reverse the obesity pandemic. Policy makers and governments across Europe need to consider support measures for those who are already obese, and they must look into all available options, including formula foods. TDMR Europe’s obesity position paper explains that total diet replacements (TDR) and meal replacements  (MRP) have scientifically proven to be a safe and cost effective measure to tackle obesity and related comorbidities.

The preliminary results of the soups and shakes diet programme that was launched by NHS England in 2020 to provide a low-calorie diet treatment with TDR for people who are overweight and living with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) show participants each lose 7.2kg on average after one month, and 13.4kg after three months. New data released earlier this year by the NHS show that people on the programme who are eating and drinking the low-calorie alternatives not only lose weight but keep it off over time. Moreover, the NHS low calorie diet programme enabled the participants to better control their blood sugar levels – reducing the need for diabetes-related medication and potentially achieving remission of their T2DM when their levels return to a healthy range.

In its position paper on obesity TDMR Europe urges EU policy makers to:

– Support a more ambitious role for the EU in public health matters and continue to recognise the complexity of obesity, while ensuring a clear focus on treatment as well as prevention.

– Explore all options available, including the use of TDRs and MRPs, while understanding healthcare costs and potential savings from using formula foods.

– Make more funds available for research into obesity treatment and management, while creating more opportunities for industry to share their best practices.

More information on TDRs and MRPs is available here and here.

TDMR Europe organises impactful educational seminars on TDRs and MRPs. Our events bring together industry stakeholders, academics, policymakers and others to review and raise awareness of the increasing evidence base within the scientific literature regarding the efficacy and potential of TDRs and MRPs to change the face of obesity and related diseases in Europe.

Find out more about TDMR Europe in our media pack and membership leaflet.