Member News: Iceland

Member News: Iceland

EASO is pleased to share an English language version of the March 8, 2024 Icelandic Ministry of Health Report of the Working Group on Actions on Obesity, Body Image, Health and Well-being

This diverse working group collaboration, was appointed by the Icelandic Minister of Health to discuss issues concerning obesity, body image, health and well-being, and to propose strategic priorities in prevention, health promotion and treatment; the group has now concluded its work.

The working group report defines goals along with proposals for actions with a focus on promoting public health and reducing the negative health consequences of obesity without causing harm.

The working group, which included patient representation, emphasizes a holistic approach to healthy lifestyles at all levels of society. The group’s proposals are three-fold and relate firstly to general public health measures, secondly to data collection and monitoring and thirdly to priorities within the health system related to counseling and treatment.

Working Group Goals

That Iceland sets a long-term strategy until the year 2034, where attention is paid to general public health measures with an emphasis on the age group of 40 years and younger.

On increased knowledge of the causes and treatment of obesity among health professionals.

That systematic work is done against fat stigma and discrimination on the basis of body shape among health professionals and in society in general.

On increasing the number of treatment options for people with obesity and improving access to services.

Societal Change

The working group has agreed that one of the main challenges in the debate about obesity is significant and widespread ignorance and stigma across society related to body image. In light of this, discussing the fact that the incidence of obesity is increasing can prove to be a challenge. The group identifies significant change across the environment and society as among the main reasons for the increased incidence of obesity. These changes need to be discussed as a holistic, enviornmental challenge; and responsibility for obesity cannot be placed solely on the individual. The group’s proposals take this into account, as the focus is, among other things, focused on general public health measures which ensure access and opportunities for healthy lifestyles.

The Working Group report will now be reviewed by the Ministry of Health, and decisions will be made on how best to work towards progressing the goals and proposals that appear therein.

Congratulations to the Icelandic working group team on this excellent and impactful collaboration!