A workshop titled Current Status and Response to the Global Obesity Epidemic, held October 9, 2018, in Washington, DC, was convened by the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions, Health and Medicine Division, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The workshop examined the status of the global obesity pandemic1 and explored approaches used to address the problem in different settings around the world. Invited presenters discussed the importance of understanding the obesity epidemic in a global context and shared perspectives on the implications of this understanding of the problem for prevention and treatment efforts in the United States, with an emphasis on reducing disparities. The workshop’s full Statement of Task is in Box 1-1.2
Bill Purcell of Farmer Purcell White & Lassiter, PLLC, and chair of the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions, welcomed participants and provided a brief overview of the roundtable. He explained that the roundtable engages leaders from multiple sectors to help solve the nation’s obesity
1 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a pandemic as an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people. See https://www.cdc.gov/ophss/csels/dsepd/ss1978/lesson1/section11.html (accessed January 29, 2019).
2 The workshop agenda, presentations, and other materials are available at http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Activities/Nutrition/ObesitySolutions/2018-OCT-9.aspx (accessed January 29, 2019).
crisis by preventing and treating obesity and its consequences across the lifespan. Through meetings, public workshops, background papers, and ad hoc convening activities, it fosters an ongoing dialogue about critical and emerging issues in obesity prevention and treatment, he continued. He explained further that the roundtable also provides a trusted venue for inspiring, developing, and examining multisector collaborations as well as policy, environmental, and behavioral initiatives designed to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary behavior, and improve the healthfulness of foods and beverages, with the goal of reducing the prevalence and adverse consequences of obesity and its related health disparities.
Purcell outlined the workshop’s four sessions and noted its timeliness, as it occurred during National Obesity Care Week and 2 days prior to World Obesity Day. He closed by telling participants that the roundtable hopes to encourage, enhance, and sustain action for partnerships and collaborations. “Watching you gather here today,” he said, “made me believe that this is a group that knows not just this work but each other well, and is collaborating now, and we hope and believe will continue to collaborate and perhaps enhance your collaborations going forward to end this pandemic.”
This proceedings follows the order of the workshop agenda (see Appendix A), chronicling its four sessions in individual chapters. Chapter 2 explores global trends in obesity and examines its collective prevalence, costs, and drivers around the world, including country and regional differences. Chapter 3 highlights global efforts to identify, promote, and monitor policy and systems initiatives related to obesity prevention and control. Chapter 4 reviews challenges and cross-cultural insights associated with efforts to prevent and control obesity. Finally, Chapter 5 reflects on progress to date and summarizes lessons for prevention and treatment efforts in the United States. Appendix B is a list of acronyms and abbreviations used in this proceedings, while Appendix C presents biographical sketches of the workshop speakers and planning committee members.
This page intentionally left blank.