Balancing Upstream and Downstream Measures to Tackle the Obesity Epidemic

Obesity Facts 10 Years

A Position Statement from the European Association for the Study of Obesity

An important new position statement has been published in Obesity Facts (OFA) by the EASO Prevention and Public Health Task Force (PPHTF).

Key Points

Public health actions to tackle obesity have historically focused on individual-level changes to diet and physical activity, rather than the upstream actions required to alter the structural drivers of behaviour.

This focus on individual-level behavior has many limitations. It may well widen inequalities and increase obesity-related stigma, and it diverts attention away from much needed changes to structural and environmental determinants of health.

Although individual-level changes are a necessary component of obesity prevention, they are only one part of a whole system response, and must be supported by upstream actions that focus on promoting healthier physical, economic and social environments.

Actions promoting universal prevention translate into reduced chronic disease burden, increased productivity, economic savings, improved quality of life, and protection of the environment. Read the full position statement, including notes and references, on the OFA website:

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