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Confronting obesity in Europe


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Europe is facing an obesity crisis of epidemic proportions that threatens to place a tremendous burden on its healthcare systems. But policymakers appear divided over how to deal with the issue, according to a new white paper and infographic published by The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Ethicon.

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Confronting obesity in Europe

  1. 1. Intelligence Unit Europe is facing on obesity crisis of epidemic proportions, one that threatens to place a tremendous burden on its healthcare systems. Yet policymakers appear divided over how to confront the issue. Lifestyle and behavioural education programmes have a crucial role to play in preventing obesity, but obesity is also a medical condition that is hard to treat and that is directly linked to associated conditions, most notably type 2 diabetes. The obesity burden in Western Europe Definition of obesity: body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more Normal Overweight Obese Severely Obese Morbidly Obese BMI l8.5 — 24.9 BMI 25 — 29.9 BMI 30 — 34.9 BMI 35 — 39.9 Blvll 40+ Over 50% of people in the WHO / of people in the WHO / European region are European region are overweight or obese obese The share of overweight and obese people (as % of total population) is set to rise significantly in Europe over the next 20 years, but not everywhere: 2015-2035 Increase of IS percentage u points or more Increase of IO - I4 percentage points Increase of 5 — 9 percentage points Increase of I — 4 percentage points No data The cost of obesity varies from country to country, but health expenditure costs range from: The decrease in median life expectancy caused by France 15% obesity in the most severe cases, comparable to the effects of smoking Associated diseases attributed to overweight and obesity )3 L. 44% 23% 7- 41 % of the global diabetes burden of the coronary heart disease burden of the cancer burden The policy response for healthy people Top 5 interventions in terms of cost effectiveness, based an example of the UK 0 Q! Portion control Availability of high- Food reformulation Weight-management Parental education calorie foods programmes Examples of prevention initiatives in Europe: DK3 France Italy UK Europe National Health and “Let’s Go With Fruit" Change4Life Fighting Obesity Through Nutrition Programme scheme programme Offer and Demand (PNNS) (FOOD) The policy response for obese people The policy response is generally to focus on treatment, often in combination with lifestyle changes. Treatment options include medically managed weight loss, pharmaceuticals and bariatric surgery. There are however considerable variations among European countries: France: Only recommends drug therapies after patients have undergone education, advice, psychotherapy where warranted, and follow—up consultations Italy: Five main levels of care (primary care, outpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, residential rehabilitative treatment, hospitalisation) Four-tiered treatment structure (local public health interventions and primary- care activity; community weight-management programmes; multi-disciplinary approach, including prescription of weight—| oss medications: bariatric surgery) 5‘ Embarking on a new approach to tackling obesity Sharing of best practice will help countries to build comprehensive strategies The leadership gap needs to be filled to initiate the necessary investment or take on entrenched interests A co—ordinated and integrated approach is required in order to create an environment that prevents obesity and discourages an unhealthy lifestyle A comprehensive approach to tackling obesity involves both prevention (for healthy people) and treatment (for already obese people) Sources Sponsored by European Association for the Study of Obesity, McKinsey Global Institute, WHO Regional Office for Europe ©The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2015 PART OF THE FAMILY OF COMPANIES