A policy brief on utilizing primary health care methods for preventing and managing obesity in children and adolescents.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of a strong healthcare system built on a foundation of primary healthcare (PHC), which can ensure that essential healthcare services are delivered in both normal and emergency situations. One of the major risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is obesity, which needs to be addressed explicitly in interventions at all levels and for all age groups, including children and adolescents.

Steady progress towards reducing the impact of obesity can be accelerated by preventing and managing it in children and adolescents through PHC. This can pave the way for effective responses to all NCDs. The World Health Organization (WHO) is focused on tackling obesity and creating safe and healthy environments that enable families to make healthy choices. This includes promoting physical activity, healthier diets, cleaner air, and more active movement.

As the 2023 United Nations High-Level Conference on Universal Health Care approaches, it is important to focus on tackling obesity and overweight with a shared focus on equitable, resilient, and inclusive health systems. This will help keep Universal Health Care (UHC) on track, providing an opportunity to bring it back.

Governments, the public (including people living with obesity and their families), civil society, professional associations, and academia must work together through national leadership and clear priorities to address the demand for and access to obesity health services for children and adolescents. It is possible to halt and reverse the obesity epidemic in all age groups, including childhood and adolescence, and the PHC approach is the most logical, cost-effective, and efficient way forward.

To achieve a comprehensive response to the global obesity epidemic, it is essential to empower those involved. This includes the government, public, civil society, professional associations, and academia, who must work together to promote healthy environments and behaviors. By taking these actions, we can effectively combat obesity and promote public health on a global scale.

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