“Addressing Obesity Together” – Press Release

World Obesity Day – Saturday March 4th 2023

World Obesity Day Europe is held annually on March 4th to raise awareness of the chronic relapsing disease of Obesity and the need for better prevention and treatment. International and national events are being held to mark the occasion.

This is part of the global World Obesity Day held in collaboration with The European Coalition for People Living with Obesity (ECPO) who lead the European campaign, and the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO). Individuals, healthcare providers and organisations throughout Europe will participate in many events online or in person, and we at the Irish Coalition for People Living with Obesity (ICPO) are taking part in the campaign at a national level. 

Each year we work alongside the Association for the Study of Obesity Ireland (ASOI), with ECPO, and with others who wish to advocate for people living with obesity in order to raise awareness with the general public, healthcare professionals, the media and society.

World Obesity Day is a chance for us to bring awareness of the Model of Care for Obesity in Ireland and in particular the new Clinical Practise Guidelines for the Management of Obesity in Adults in Ireland, which we launched in October 2022. They were led by ASOI but represent a collaboration between over 60 healthcare professionals across Ireland, the HSE National Clinical Programme for Obesity, and members of ICPO.  We are anticipating significant improvements in the management of obesity in Ireland as they are implemented– Dr Cathy Breen – Chair of ASOI.

Addressing Obesity Together we encourage all to participate in creating greater awareness and understanding of obesity, which is predicted to affect more than half of the European population by 2030. According to World Health Organization, obesity is one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century, as its prevalence has tripled in many European countries since the 1980s.

We at ICPO want to draw attention to the impact that obesity has on society and the economy and the huge benefits to be gained from prevention and treatment.
Among the European-wide initiatives being held to coincide with World Obesity Day we will be launching our first podcast titled “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but names will also hurt me“. The discussions follow on the theme of how “Words Matter” for people living with obesity.

We will also be launching online a series of educational videos of discussions between various healthcare providers and people living with obesity. These will include:
Stigma – In healthcare, society, self-stigma and the importance of the patient voice.
Enabling Participation – Change in focus from weight centric conversations.
Mental Health – Negative self-talk, shame and blame, weight regain.
Understanding Childhood Obesity.
This discussion sees Dr Grace O’Malley, Clinical Lead of Child and Adolescent Obesity Service, Children’s Health Ireland, and ICPO Bernadette Keenan, discuss topics such as recognising when weight is an issue and how to avoid stigma in the home.

“Understanding the consequences of stigma and how it affects people seeking treatment is vital. We hope that these resources will be shared so that not only healthcare providers will have an increased understanding of this, but also parents and families themselves.
Having conversations about weight can be difficult but if done in a respectful and non-stigmatising way, better outcomes will follow”
– Bernadette Keenan, ICPO

For further information on World Obesity Day Europe andthe many events taking place, please see https://woday.eu/; on ECPO, https://eurobesity.org/  and EASO, please see https://easo.org/

The ECPO image bank of photographs, which contains several from Ireland continues to be expanded and updated. The image bank has been created to help change people’s attitudes to overweight and obesity. It consists of more than 400 professionally taken photographs to support editors in selecting fewer stigmatising images for use in newspapers and magazines.
Find our Irish image bank at www.icpobesity.org

The following hashtags are used on social media:
#ObesityDayEurope, #WorldObesityDay, #AddressingObesityTogether and #WODIreland


Contacts for further information are:

ICPO: Maura Murphy maura@icpobesity.org  or Susie Birney  susie.b@icpoebsity.org

ECPO: Mario Silva mario@eurobesity.org  or Vicki Mooney vicki@eurobesity.org

ASOI: Niamh Arthurs  niamharthurs@rcsi.ie