World Obesity Day is a yearly event focused on tackling the global obesity crisis. The campaign aims to improve global awareness, prevention, and treatment of obesity. The day itself falls on the 4th of March every year and is accompanied by events and activities around the world. World Obesity Day focuses on raising awareness about obesity, understanding the complexities and root causes of obesity, changing misconceptions and stigmas about obesity, encouraging advocacy, and changing and improving obesity policy and experience. The World Obesity Federation established the day in 2015 and works with many organizations to campaign.
Each year, World Obesity Day has a specific theme. The 2023 theme is “Changing Perspectives: Let’s Talk About Obesity” and focuses on changing myths about obesity, reducing stigma, and taking action to change health outcomes. People can participate through the World Obesity Day website, which lists activities and events taking place around the world and provides a form for people to enter their event. The website also offers resources such as graphics, posters, fact sheets, and conversation cards to help start discussions about obesity.
Obesity is a chronic health condition that can lead to serious health problems. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines overweight as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher and obesity as a BMI of 30 or higher. In the United States, overweight or obesity affects nearly 3 out of 4 adults aged 20 and older, and nearly 1 in 5 children and adolescents aged 2-19 suffers from obesity.
Possible causes of obesity may include a combination of diet, lifestyle, genetics, psychology, socio-cultural, and economic environment factors. Obesity is a risk factor for chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Establishing healthy habits, especially early in childhood, can help prevent obesity. Other strategies include placing limits on the marketing of foods and beverages high in sugar, salt, and fat, ensuring equal access to affordable and healthy foods, and creating safe spaces for physical activity. For individuals, managing obesity can include reducing calorie intake from fat and sugar, increasing healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and nuts, exercising regularly, and participating in a weight management program. Some people may also need help beyond lifestyle changes and can work with their healthcare professional to discuss medication and surgical options.
People with obesity can find and connect with local communities and organizations through the Global Obesity Portal. Sharing obesity stories and reading about other obesity experiences can create a better understanding and sense of support. Other sources of support for obesity include advocacy groups and healthcare professionals. World Obesity Day provides an opportunity for people to engage in meaningful conversations and take action towards a healthier world.