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World Obesity Day: The Roots of Obesity Run Deep

by Public Health Update

World Obesity Day: The Roots of Obesity Run Deep

World Obesity Day is marked globally on 4 March. World Obesity Day (WOD) was launched in 2015 as an initiative of the World Obesity Federation to stimulate and support practical solutions on a broader, global basis to help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and to reverse the obesity crisis. March 4 is the new date for World Obesity Day. In the spirit of a global approach, several leading obesity organisations are coming together in 2020 to focus on Word Obesity Day on March 4.

The main heading for World Obesity Day is  ”The Roots of Obesity Run Deep” and  Sub-heading is ”Together we can create a healthier future.”

Obesity and its root causes

World obesity day encourages practical solutions to help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, undertake proper treatment, and reverse the obesity crisis.

Obesity rates have nearly tripled since 1975 and have increased almost five times in children and adolescents, affecting people of all ages from all social groups in both developed and developing countries.  Obesity is a major risk factors for various noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and various forms of cancer.

People with obesity are constantly shamed and blamed because many – including doctors, policymakers, and others – do not fully understand the root causes of obesity, which are often a complex mixture of dietary, lifestyle, genetic, psychological, sociocultural, economic and environmental factors. It is time we break the cycle of shame and blame and reevaluate our approach for addressing this complex global public health problem.

Together we can make a difference. There is a lot we can do, including restricting the marketing to children of food and drinks high in fats, sugar and salt; taxing sugary drinks, and providing better access to affordable, healthy food. In our cities and towns, we need to make space for safe walking, cycling, and recreation. We must teach our children healthy habits from early on.

WHO is responding to the global obesity crisis on many fronts, including monitoring global trends and prevalence, the development of a broad range of guidance addressing the prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity, and providing implementation support and guidance such as the Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.


  • INCREASE AWARENESS: Increase knowledge and understanding of the challenge of obesity, and what can and should be done to overcome it.
  • IMPROVE POLICIES: Encourage governments to take urgent action to meet their commitment to halt the rise in obesity by 2025.
  • SHARE EXPERIENCES: Share national experiences of campaigning to enable the spread of best practices.

Key facts

  • Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 40 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2018.
  • Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Obesity is preventable.

Source of info: WHO and World Obesity Day 

World Obesity Day: The Roots of Obesity Run Deep

World Obesity Day: The Roots of Obesity Run Deep

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