Report: ACTION on Obesity – it’s about time!

Today is officially World Obesity. As pointed out in the 252-page OECD report on “The Heavy Burden of Obesity: The Economics of Prevention”, Canada, like most OECD countries is not doing a great job at it (nor are others!). This leaves us with the fact that there are currently well over 6 million Canadian adults and children living with what the World Obesity Federation (and the Canadian Medical Association) calls a complex chronic disease.

So what is obesity and what does obesity care look like from the perspective of Canadians living with obesity (PwO), health care providers (HCPs), and employers? This is the topic of the Canadian ACTION Study, released today by Obesity Canada.

Conducted as a nationally representative survey, the ACTION study reveals that although people living with obesity, health care providers, and employers all agree that obesity is a significant health problem (on par with heart disease, diabetes, or even cancer), their views vastly differ when it comes to what to do about it.

Responses to the survey also suggest that people with obesity, health care providers and employers don’t fully understand the complexity of obesity, and believe that, contrary to current research findings, diet and exercise are sufficient approaches to managing it.

Based on the findings of the report, Obesity Canada makes the following recommendations:

For People Living with Obesity:

  • Learn evidence about obesity causes and treatments and understand that obesity management is a lifelong process that requires medical intervention.
  • Find health professionals who have been trained in obesity management.
  • Self-advocate for support and access to treatments and supports with Obesity Canada’s online resources.

For Health Care Providers:

  • Understand recent research supporting obesity’s complex etiology and heterogeneity.
  • Learn more about current evidence-based approaches to treating obesity (see Obesity Canada website).
  • Treat obesity as a chronic disease using available treatments (new Clinical Practice Guidelines available in 2020).
  • Include obesity in the training program curricula for health professionals.

For Employers:

  • Treat obesity as a chronic disease and move obesity out of the lifestyle category in bene ts plans.
  • Offer meaningful obesity services/coverage that move beyond healthy eating and exercise programs.

The Full ACTION Report ist available here.

An Infographic summarizing the key findings of the ACTION study is available here.

Edmonton, AB