Obesity: The Epidemic, Disease, Global Policy Implications
Obesity is a worldwide epidemic with recent literature suggesting that the impact on the global domestic product (GDP) is $2.0 trillion USD. As morbidity, mortality and costs continue to rise; efforts must be made to understand the impact of the disease. In many developed countries, the prevalence of obesity is more than 30%. Some countries have sought to develop policy initiatives to tackle the disease, but often policy makers have a rudimentary understanding of the disease. Obesity is a disease in which a myriad of factors play a role in its incidence including behavior (diet quality, physical activity, sleep and stress), genetics and hormonal regulation. It is important to understand the complexity of obesity to work to develop strategies to prevent and treat persons who struggle with it. This presentation will define obesity, illustrate prevalence, and discuss current research which helps us to understand the complex physiology of the disease. We will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of policies that have been developed throughout the world to target obesity. Additionally, we will also explore barriers to access to obesity care.