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Preventing overweight and obesity: beyond isolated solutions

How to decrease overweight and obesity? On 23 November 2022, about 150 professionals came together to work on solutions at the conference ‘Accelerating cooperation to stop overweight and obesity’.

They all agreed: the responsibility for overweight and obesity certainly does not lie solely with the individual. As professionals, we all have a role to play in the necessary systemic change. We must look beyond the boundaries of our own field and isolated solutions, and be open to new collaborations.

Watch the video impression of the day

Read more about the highlights

  • The need for shared health goals: Antje Diertens (former member of the Dutch ‘Tweede Kamer’) called on the government to set shared health goals, because “it’s the only way we can efficiently achieve the outcomes we desire.”
  • How to create a healthy living and working environment? Two expert panels discussed the solutions and shared some nice examples on how to create such environments. For example Martin Chaigneau (municipality of Utrecht) who is working on social cohesion in the Leeuwesteyn neighbourhood in Utrecht, Rianne Meijerman (Ancora Health) who developed a method for stimulating healthy employees or Margreet de Kok (TNO) who is working on the Workplace Vitaly Hub at the Technical University Eindhoven. 
  • How to communicate? Poverty and social exclusion ambassador (UMC Utrecht) Eugenie Mac-nack showed us how important it is to talk with the people who are affected, rather than about them. “Make sure your approach matches the target audience. Do not advertise expensive fruit, such as strawberries, in low-income neighbourhoods. Or don’t come up with technological innovations in neighborhoods where people are too poor for an internet connection. But provide primary items, such as breakfast at school, and speak their language.”
  • And what about the people for whom prevention comes too late? More than 14% of the Dutch society is already obese. While bariatric surgeon Eric Hazebroek showed how medical treatments can be a last resort for this group, professor Hans van Delden zoomed in on the ethical side of this story. “Obese people are often stigmatized and we should be more careful in blaming or punishing them. After all, it isn’t solely their responsibility.”

Or browse through the photos