A study that explores the barriers and perspectives surrounding obesity in order to educate and raise awareness about this disease in the world was presented today in Nashville (Tennessee), within the framework of the Obesity Week 2018.
"We did a study that will help us identify the attitudes, behaviors and potential barriers that exist around obesity, with the idea of understanding this problem that is constantly growing," Dr. Ricardo Reynoso told Efe.
The coordinator of the study called Action explained that this survey – from which the first conclusions will be drawn soon – was carried out in 11 countries on five continents, with the participation of 14,500 people with obesity and 2,800 health professionals.
The countries that participated in the study were: Australia, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom.
"We worked with people in general, although it includes people with obesity and doctors from the first level to specialists, which classified the questions in different areas that we wanted to explore," said the specialist.
This type of study, he said, should provide information to both the population in general and health personnel and authorities to understand the origin of obesity and based on it, develop strategies to help combat it.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2016 in the world there were just over 1,900 million adults aged 18 or over who were overweight, of whom 650 million were obese.
In Mexico, 72% of the adult population suffers from obesity and 33% of children also live with this disease, so the country ranks second in incidence of this problem in adults and the first place in children.
"This study can provide information about the current situation of countries like Mexico on the perception and attitudes of people with obesity and how it is handled by health professionals," said Dr. Verónica Velázquez.
The idea, he added, is to alert society about everything that being obese means to reduce the stigma that can be had about this disease.
In that sense, Dr. Ada Cuevas, member of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, said that in Chile, for example, it is known that in the last 10 years the problem of obesity has increased.
"However, many people do not pay attention, many people seek solutions, but only a small part loses weight significantly," he said.
In addition, he said, of those people who manage to lose weight considerably are very few who manage to maintain their ideal weight.
He explained that among the main barriers that could explain this is the stressful life that people have now, which leads to an anxiety that leads them to take refuge in food.
"On the other hand, the cost of healthy food, lack of time to exercise, the cost of treatment and not being able to maintain healthy lifestyles for a long time are factors that prevent the efficient fight against this disease," said Cuevas .
This study was already carried out in 2015 in the United States and Canada, where the first results were obtained.
"It was found that only 55% of people have received a diagnosis of the disease, of which only 24% have an adequate treatment," said Dr. Soren Kruse Lilleore, who led the project in that region.
Kruse explained that it was also found that most patients and health personnel minimize the problem and that makes it difficult to find effective tools to combat this disease.
Finally, Reynoso said that it is expected that the results of this study worldwide will formally be presented in the middle of next year "with the aim of educating the population, health personnel and try to influence the creation of public policies to attack it. ", He said.