Message by Dr. Marios Pedonomou
The World Obesity Federation predicts that by 2025 over 1 billion people will have obesity and 177 million adults will have severe obesity, but the disease still carries substantial misconceptions and stigma, representing significant barriers to its prevention and treatment. Many still consider obesity a lifestyle choice, often blaming it on a lack of will power or inactivity that is best treated with diet and exercise alone.
However, obesity is now recognized by most major medical groups as a complex chronic disease caused by interactions between genetic, behavioral, socioeconomic and environmental factors. The rising global epidemic of obesity demands a global response that breaks down the barriers to effective prevention and treatment. That’s why a coalition of medical organizations that spans the world have come together for a new unified World Obesity Day on March 4, 2020.
This year’s theme for World Obesity Day is “the roots of obesity,” focusing on eliminating stigma and improving understanding of obesity so that more patients have greater access to safe and effective treatments.
Patients with obesity deserve to feel supported by their healthcare providers with treatments that give them the best chance at improved health outcomes. Michelle Vicari, bariatric surgery patient and advocate, asks healthcare providers to “explain to us the science of obesity, give us understanding and support, help us build a team and provide us with resources.”
Many healthcare providers are more willing to address the consequences of obesity rather than the disease of obesity itself, despite the availability of safe and effective treatments. Multiple clinical guidelines recommend involvement of a physician and treatment that goes beyond diet and exercise alone for obesity, and particularly for severe obesity where bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment available, yet is rarely utilized. Research shows 80-90% of people with obesity who lose weight with diet and exercise regain it. For severe obesity, it’s even worse—men only have a 1 in 1,290 chance of reaching a healthy body weight without bariatric surgery while women have a 1 in 677 chance. Despite these realities, obesity patients still face significant challenges to receiving more effective long-term treatments.
We are committed to fight the stigma and to improve access to education around bariatric surgery for patients with obesity. Our aim is through a multidimensional approach to help obese or morbidly obese people and demonstrate the benefits of bariatric surgery for those who have the indication for surgery.
Marios Pedonomou MD, MSc, PhD, FASMBS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Aretaeio Hospital Nicosia
T +357 22 200 412 | F +357 22 512 372
55-57 Andreas Avraamides Street, 2024 Strovolos,