Congratulations to our colleagues in Italy on gaining official parliamentary recognition that obesity is a chronic disease.
This collaborative, multi-stakeholder effort was long in the making and includes a Charter of Human Rights for People Living with Obesity. The document enumerates actions necessary for the protection of health for obesity prevention and treatment of people living with obesity.
Luca Busetto, co-chair of the EASO Obesity Management Task Force (OMTF) writes:
“On November 13th the Camera dei Deputati of the Italian Parliament voted unanimously to approve a motion that recognises obesity as a chronic disease and asks the Government to implement specific actions to promote and improve obesity prevention and management.
First of all, let me thanks the members of the “Obesity and Diabetes” parliamentary multi-party working group, and in particular its coordinator deputy Roberto Pella, for demonstrating commitment, tenacity and engagement. A further thank you to colleagues and patients involved in OPEN (OBESITY POLICY ENGAGEMENT NETWORK) ITALY who developed and supported the initiative. This motion represents a very important step in the recognition of obesity as a disease in Italy, and we look forward to the actions that our National Government and the Italian Regions will undertake in the future toward practical implementation of the motion and its translation in the day-by-day activity of our National Health Service. As President Elect of the Italian Obesity Society (SIO), I assure you that our society will continue to wholeheartedly support this initiative”.
The document below is inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; by the Italian Constitution; from the European Charter of Patients’ Rights; from the Action-Io Study; from the roadmap developed by Open Italia (which includes Amici Obesi Onlus) and the recommendations of the World Obesity Federation for the fight against stigma and discrimination of the person with obesity.
Our ECPO colleagues from Amici Obesi Onlus in Italy write “Because the rights of people with obesity are the same as the human and social rights of people without obesity”.Then as we informed you on November 11 there was a discussion of the motion presented in the parliament by the Honorable Pella and signed by all the political forces of the Parliamentary arc, then on Wednesday November 13 there was the vote of this discussion where the Chamber of Deputies approves bipartisan motion that commits Government on prevention and recognition as a chronic disease.
The outcome was 458/458 in favour, ie the text was unanimously adopted by the Deputies present!
Among the various commitments there is also a national plan that harmonises the activities in the field of prevention and the fight against obesity; full access to the diagnostic procedures for comorbidities, to dietary-food treatments and treatments, and, in the most serious cases, access to second-level centres to evaluate psychological, pharmacological and surgical approaches; guidelines concerning the “first 1,000 days of life” of the child and programs for the prevention of childhood obesity.
The House Assembly this morning approved a bipartisan motion that commits the Government on various actions for the prevention and treatment of obesity. In all, 12 points on which the text, the first signature of the Hon. Roberto Pella (FI), draws the attention of the Executive: from the recognition of obesity as a chronic disease to a national plan that harmonises the activities in the field of prevention and the fight against obesity; from full access to the diagnostic procedures for comorbidities, to dietary-food treatments and treatments, and, in the most serious cases, access to second-level centres to evaluate psychological, pharmacological and surgical approaches, up to the guidelines concerning the “first 1,000 days of life” of the child and programs for the prevention of childhood obesity.
Below are the 12 points on which the approved motion intervenes.
The motion commits Government:
- To provide for a monitoring of the correct implementation of the LEAs with specific reference to the diseases associated with obesity;
- To implement a national plan on obesity that harmonizes at the national level, activities in the field of prevention and the fight against obesity, a document, shared with the regions, which, compatibly with the availability of economic, human and structural resources , identify a common strategic plan aimed at promoting interventions based on an integrated and personalized multidisciplinary approach, centered on the person with obesity and oriented towards a better organization of services and a full responsibility of all the care actors;
- To take initiatives to ensure the person with obesity full access to the diagnostic procedures for comorbidities, to dietary-food treatments and treatments, and, in the most serious cases, to access second-level centers to evaluate approaches, psychological , pharmacological and surgical;
- To envisage a more stringent implementation of the provisions of the 2014-2018 National Pact for Prevention relating to policies to combat obesity by adopting binding initiatives in the new National Pact for Prevention 2020-2025, providing guidelines for the “first 1,000 days of life “, of child;
- To promote the improvement of the training of health workers on the subject of nutrition and to promote a greater culture for school operators and for new parents on this issue;
- To promote further studies on the causes of obesity and to take initiatives to improve the nutrition standards of pregnant mothers and children to act in particular even on the first “1,000 days”, making it clear that there is no obligation to provide daily protein animals in public canteens and favoring a cultural approach based on the assumption of the correct amount of proteins and on the possibility of taking essential amino acids even with only vegetable proteins;
- To promote programs for the prevention of childhood obesity and to combat sedentary life through coordinated initiatives to promote health, understood in its biopsychosocial dimension, which implement physical and sports activity, healthy eating and education at school level information on the promotion of correct lifestyles, including relational quality;
- To undertake joint and synergic information initiatives for the population in support of what is promoted by the national and international campaign called Obesity Day;
- To promote educational and informational pathways and interventions to protect the person with obesity in work and school environments, aimed at combating discrimination and bullying even against people with obesity;
- To undertake all the initiatives for the protection of breastfeeding for six months, exclusive and up to two years complementary;
- To take initiatives to regulate the advertising of food products and drinks for children, in order to:
- Arsi strive to ensure that the places where children gather (kindergartens, schools, schoolyards and pre-school centers, playgrounds, family and child clinics and pediatric services and during all sports and cultural activities) are free from any direct and indirect advertising of foods with a high content of saturated fats, fatty acids, sugars and free salts;
- Are develop policies to contain food marketing on children, with the preparation of measures that protect the public interest;
- identify the information and the nature of the effects of food marketing aimed at children to develop further research in this field in order to reduce the impact on children of the advertising of foods with an excessive content of saturated fats, fatty acids, sugars and free salts ;
- To take initiatives to stimulate the food industry to study an adequate portioning of products for children and adolescents, taking into account all the nutrients that can affect the development of obesity.
I add the link where you can view the document presented in parliament.
This tremendous progress was made possible thanks to the collaborative work of OPEN ITALIA (of which Amici Obesi Onlus is part) and the Parliamentary Intergroup “Obesità e Diabete” which includes SIO Italia.
Our colleagues recognise that “…none of this would have happened without Marina Biglia’s dedication and hard work over the years.”