Message from Dr. Marios Pedonomou
March 4, 2021 has been designated as World Obesity Day 2021 with the prospect of reminding the world of the greatest epidemic of our time. Without any underestimation of the pandemic of the coronavirus, March 4 is a day of reflection and reminder of this huge problem, because everyone has the right to a healthier and happier life.
From 1975 until today, obesity statistics have tripled, while for children and teenagers have increased fivefold. The obesity epidemic affects us all, regardless of age, gender, social group, culture or country of origin. And it’s so important because it can trigger dozens of other diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke and even some form of cancers.
To make the dimension of the problem a little more understandable, it is indicated that:
- 800 million people worldwide are currently obese
- Of those affected by coronavirus disease, obese patients are twice as likely to need inpatient care
- Childhood obesity is expected to increase by 60% in the next 10 years, affecting more than 250 million people by 2030
- The medical complications of obesity will exceed the cost of treatment by one trillion dollars in 2025.
In general there is a misinterpretation of the whole problem and unfortunately obese people are stigmatized, targeted, and blamed for their condition. And this because of the lack of understanding and information.
The root of the problem lies in the interaction of various factors, independent of each other, that lead to the manifestation of the disease: dietary, modern lifestyle, genetic, psychological, socio-cultural, economic and even environmental.
We believe that the time has come to break this chain of prejudice and accusation and to re-evaluate our approach to this issue, both as individuals and as a society. At the institutional level, many can be done, but also individually . We can avoid giving our children foods and drinks rich in fat, sugar and salt and encourage them having a healthier dietary, physical activity, such as walking, cycling, etc. It is time of our country, society and municipalities to encourage the appropriate and safe infrastructure for a healthier life style.
Marios Paidonomou MD, MSc, PhD, FASMBS
Associate Professor of Surgery