Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación

The problem of Obesity

Over the last few years obesity has ceased to be an exclusively aesthetic problem and has crossed the line to become a health and healthcare issue, by turning into a genuine epidemic worldwide requiring enormous human, technical and economic resources to fight this. In spite of the deployment of massive preventive and therapeutic arsenals by political-medical-scientific authorities, obesity has, far from stopping, multiplied dangerously. Its proliferation in society has reached such a point that specialists have started to call it “globesity”, a subspecies of overweightness globalisation, irrespective of a country’s status as developed or underdeveloped.

Recent epidemiological studies show that a high percentage of people have some kind of pathology associated with excess weight, reaching figures exceeding 300 million all over the world. The alarm bells sound even louder when data on child and youth obesity is examined.

These nutritional disorders entail a number of disorders associated with excess weight, some of them chronic, such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure and even different types of cancer.

The obesity disorder has also considerably affected children, as already mentioned, since the number of the obese has multiplied in the studies carried out in developed countries such as the United States and some in Europe, mainly due to a change in eating habits, above all in the consumption of fat and a considerable reduction in physical activity.

With regard to anti-obesity treatments, these continue to produce unsatisfactory results which is often due to mistaken strategies and the improper use of the therapeutic resources available and applied. According to estimations of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the cause of death of 41 million of the 64 million people who will die in 2015 will be chronic diseases. Pathologies associated with obesity, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases or the metabolic syndrome will monopolise 80% of healthcare expense in the next ten years.

For all these reasons, and in view of the extremely high economic costs meant for Public Health Systems by the conglomerate of pathologies associated with being overweight, the problem has to be tackled at its roots in order to be able to fight this in its branches. It seems obligatory to deploy a worldwide inter- and multi-disciplinary structure of professionals helping to fight this disease of epidemic proportions spread all over the planet: a system made up of specialists in different areas, from primary healthcare doctors, endocrinologists, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education teachers or working politicians.

Obesity is a chronic problem of individual and public health which affects a large number of people all over the world. Halting its invasion and succeeding in maintaining healthy lifestyles to revert this situation is the responsibility of all social agents involved.