Obesity as a disease

For many years at safefood we’ve been highlighting the serious health impacts of excess weight and the practical steps we can take as individuals to become a healthier weight.

For the vast majority of families, making changes to the food they eat can have a really positive impact on their weight and health. For others, whose weight is classed as​ obese, it's important to recognize that they need extra help from a health professional. This is the same for anybody with a health condition, such as high blood pressure.

A couple of weeks ago World Obesity called for obesity to be recognized as a disease. Fortunately, obesity is already recognized as a disease among health professionals on the island of Ireland. However, there appears to be less clear recognition for those outside of the health sector. 

It’s important that we all recognise obesity as a disease for several reasons:

  • To promote the understanding that obesity is a societal issue and not simply due to an individual eating too much and moving too little. This recognises that obesity is as a result of a modern society that promotes unhealthy choices and makes it difficult for us to maintain a healthy weight.
  • To highlight to those affected by obesity, to the medical profession and to the public at large that obesity (or excessive fatness) is a potentially life-threatening disorder.
  • To help destigmatise obesity and be more respectful to those who suffer from obesity.

We don’t consider a person with heart disease as being neglectful, or that the disease is all their fault. For most people, a lifestyle change will improve their health e.g. lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure. For others, drugs may be necessary or, for a small number, surgery is required. Obesity is a disease that deserves to be treated in the same way.

various people buying, preparing and eating food

Posted: 08/06/2017 10:39:21 by Marian O’Reilly
Filed under: Obesity

About Me

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Marian O’Reilly
Hi, my name is Marian O’Reilly and I’m the Chief Specialist in Nutrition at safefood. My job is varied ranging from nutrition research, working on mass media campaigns to dealing with public queries on healthy eating. I live in Co. Cork with my husband and our one year son. I’m a lover of the outdoors and in my spare time will be found out walking.