October 11, 2017 is the world day to fight obesity. The World Federation for Combating Obesity this year focuses on increasing investment by governments, public health professionals and health care providers to deal with obesity. This means investment in prevention, early recognition and treatment of the consequences of obesity.
Poor nutrition and poor physical activity are the most important factors contributing to the epidemic of increased body weight and obesity in the world. The situation in our country suggests that these problems are increasingly present in the population in the Republic of Macedonia. The data of the Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Macedonia show that 62.7% of men and 48.4% of women over the age of 18 have an increased body weight, and 19.6% and 17.2% of them are obese, respectively. According to the comparative data from the implementation of the WHO Children’s In-Charge In Europe (COSI) Initiative for 2010 and 2016, there is an increase in the prevalence of weight gain or obesity in 2016 compared to 2010, in male children from 37.9 to 39.4%, and in girls from 31.5 to 32.9%. The prevalence of obesity increased in boys from 19.5 to 20.5%, and in girls from 13.1 to 15.2%.
In the area of prevention of obesity, it is necessary to implement investments in:
- Education to support the creation of a healthy environment;
- Ensuring easy access to healthy foods by improving the local environment related to food;
- Improve the local infrastructure that will provide the opportunity for active transport and physical activity;
- Market interventions in support of healthy eating choices;
- Health promotion throughout life for the health protection of the present and future generations.
In the area of coping with obesity, it is necessary to implement investments in:
- Development and implementation of national guides for the recognition and care of people affected by increased body weight and obesity, especially those from vulnerable groups;
- Free consultation on obesity in primary health care;
- Healthcare staff trained to consult with patients and avoid stigmatization related to weight;
- Group and individual services for people with weight problems;
- Support at the level of family, school or workplace;
- People who are overweight or obese live with a specific disability and with reduced quality of life. The occurrence of diseases in them is more certain and carries a risk of premature mortality.
The Public Health Institute requests on health authorities at central level to give the necessary attention to this increasingly risky factor in our country. The Institute requests on current and future institutions at the local level to make additional efforts in order to provide environment for its citizens that will promote health and protect them from the premature occurrence of non-communicable diseases.