EASO Stakeholder Session – From Words to Action

EASO Policy Stakeholder Sessions are a chance to explore a policy topic of concern to our community in from a range of perspectives and see where we can make a difference.

Contact EASO Policy Lead Jacqueline Bowman-Busato for further information: jbowman@easo.org

In France last year, legal action had to be taken to ensure people living with obesity had priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine. This EASO Policy Stakeholder Session looked at this extraordinary success story that shows how we can take the European Commission’s recent categorisation of obesity as a chronic disease and make it a reality in practice.

EASO Stakeholder Session banner

Chairs: Jacqueline Bowman-Busato, EU Policy Lead, EASO and Euan Woodward, Executive Director, EASO


  • Jason Halford, President, EASO
  • Ms. Alina Constantin, President, Cekidis; Patients’ Council International Coordinator, La Ligue Contre l’Obésité, France
  • Professor Karine Clément, Vice President AFERO (French Association for the Study of Obesity)

On 4 March 2021, the European Commission quietly recategorized obesity from a “risk factor” to a chronic disease (or NCD) in its own right for the first time.  EASO very much welcomed this development (as we stated EASO Reacts to European Commission update on Obesity Prevention Brief – EASO).

This follows on from the prioritisation of Obesity and Cancer as the two priority NCDs within the Strategic Foresight Report: Charting the course towards a more resilient Europe  and related process (published 9 September 2020).

“Pre-obesity (overweight) and obesity are medical conditions marked by an abnormal and/or excessive accumulation of body fat that presents a risk to health ( WHO 2019 ). Obesity is a chronic relapsing disease, which in turn acts as a gateway to a range of other non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.”

SOURCE: Obesity prevention | Knowledge for policy (europa.eu)

The Policy Stakeholder Session on 2 July 2021 discussed this landmark for obesity policy advocacy at international, European, national and territorial levels – how it came about and how we can make the most of this opportunity to put policy into practice.

Discussing developments in context were EASO’S EU policy team lead Jacqueline Bowman-Busato, joined by colleagues in France from the League Against Obesity and the French EASO member organisation AFERO where they have already seen tangible results for people living with obesity through their efforts.

Our case study wa a very fresh success story: Alina Constantin, President of Cekidis in France and Patient Board member of La Ligue Contre l’Obésité, will take us through how her organisation engaged with French policymakers to ensure the 2.3 million people living with obesity in France had priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

About EASO – www.easo.org

Established in 1986, EASO is a federation of professional membership associations from 36 countries, with a network of over 130 specialist Collaborating Centres for Obesity Management across the region. EASO’s mission is to reduce the burden of unhealthy weight, and it promotes action through collaboration in research, education and policy. EASO represents scientists, health care practitioners, physicians, public health experts and patients.