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The 2022 World Obesity Day (WOD) China Summit and other WOD events in China

The 2022 World Obesity Day (WOD) China Summit and other WOD events in China

March 4, 2022 is “World Obesity Day” (WOD). The World Health Organization (WHO), the World Obesity Federation (WOF) and other organizations are vigorously promoting global obesity prevention and control in this occasion. The Obesity Prevention and Control Society of Chinese Nutrition Society (OPCS-CNS) has cooperated closely with other organizations to carry out a series of activities to encourage the whole society to pay attention to the obesity problem and take more practical actions. This WOD event is an important activity in China with one-sixth of the global population. It is also the first time China has officially participated the WOD activity, which has a great significance in obesity prevention and control.

Obesity has become a serious public health problem globally. At present, about 40% of adults worldwide are overweight or obese. Based on the newly released “Report on Chinese Residents Chronic Diseases and Nutrition (2020)”, in China, more than 50% of adults and 20% of school-age children were overweight or obese. China has the world's largest number of people with overweight or obesity. Obesity is associated with increased risks of many chronic diseases and premature death. It imposes an enormous health and economic burden on individuals, families and the nation if not tackled effectively. It could seriously hinder the sustainable development of the population and society in China. For many years, the WHO, the National Health Commission of China (NHC) and other institutions at home and abroad have been fighting the obesity epidemic. To call for joint action for tackling the global health hazard, the WOF proposed March 4 as “World Obesity Day”.

The “2022 World Obesity Day China Summit” online symposium was successfully held on March 4, 2022. The event was guided by the Chinese Nutrition Society (CNS) and Chinese Preventive Medicine Association (CPMA), organized by OPCS-CNS and Global Health Institute (GHI) of Xi’an Jiaotong University, and co-organized by the National Institute for Nutrition and Health of Chinese Center for Disease Control (CCDC) and Prevention, and Behavioral Health Society of CPMA. Approximately 20,000 delegates attended the online symposium.

Well-known experts and leaders participated in the event, including those from organizations of WHO, WOF, NHC, CCDC, CNS, CPMA, and other prestigious universities and hospitals. They shared their respective ideas and views through presentations, debates and panel discussions, covering various topics such as obesity epidemic situation, risk factors, prevention and treatment in China.

The co-chairs of the conference, Prof. Youfa Wang, President of OPCS-CNS, and Prof. Wen Peng, Secretary-General, introduced the WOD origin and some of the recent events held in our country and the whole world. Then, Francesco Branca, Director of Department of Nutrition and Food Safety of WHO, Dr. Gauden Galea, WHO Chief Representative Officer in China, Johanna Ralston, Chief Executive Officer of WOF, Prof. Yuexin Yang, President of CNS, and other distinguished guests made the opening remarks for the conference. They unanimously expressed that tackling obesity, one of the most serious global health issues, requires the whole-of-society approach, and everybody needs to act.

The symposium released the promotional video for WOD in China, which was jointly produced by OPCS-CNS, Health Education Special Fund of China Health Promotion Foundation, GHI of Xi’an Jiaotong University and other partners. A standing committee member of the OPCS-CNS, Prof. Xiangyang Tian stated that this video aimed to elicit attention from all sectors of society  and to work on obesity prevention and control.

The symposium also released the “15 Recommendations For Action on Obesity Prevention and Control in China" (hereinafter referred to as “Recommendations for Action”), which is part of the “Expert Consensus on Obesity Prevention and Control in China” that will be officially released soon. Prof. Youfa Wang, President of OPCS-CNS, distinguished professor of Xi’an Jiaotong University, and Prof. Gengsheng He, Vice-President of OPCS-CNS, Vice Dean of the School of Public Health of Fudan University, briefly introduced the purpose and content of the “Expert Consensus” on behalf of the Expert Consensus Working Group.

The “Recommendations for Actions” includes five aspects of action recommendations, specifically the 15 articles: 1) mobilize the whole society to participate and advocate a healthy lifestyle; 2) create a healthy and supportive environment, promote a balanced diet for all; 3) create a national fitness atmosphere and strengthen physical activity; 4) focus on key populations and carry out whole-life-cycle obesity prevention and control; 5) optimize healthy weight management and improve the obesity prevention and control service system. The recommendations advocate mobilizing the whole society to pay attention to the obesity problem, improving the obesity-causing environment, advocating healthy lifestyles, attaching importance to the prevention and control of obesity throughout the life cycle, establishing and strengthening the standardized obesity diagnosis and treatment, and therefore making contributions to the realization of the goal of “Healthy China” and building a human health community.

In the symposium, several authoritative experts made presentations, discussing the issues related to obesity prevention and control in China from different perspectives, including national policies, possible future action strategies and implementation measures. Prof. Dayi Hu, a well-known clinical expert and academician of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences, Xinhua Li, Former header of CCDC and General Manager of the People's Medical Publishing House Co., Ltd, and Gangqiang Ding, Director of the National Institute for Nutrition and Health, CCDC, made outstanding presentations on the prevention and control of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, the prevalence of obesity among Chinese adult residents, and the “Scientific Research Report on Chinese Dietary Guidelines 2021”, respectively. Prof. Jiao Xu, Director of Food Safety Standards and Monitoring and Evaluation Division, NHC, Prof. Limin Wang, Risk Factor Surveillance, National Center for Chronic and Non-Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, CCDC, Prof. Liangkun Ma, Chief Physician, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, and Prof. Youfa Wang, gave speeches from different angles on the progress and prospect of obesity prevention and control in China, such as prevention and control strategies, the impacts of female and perinatal weight management on obesity, and the implication of obesity prevention and control for "Health China 2030".

In panel discussions, Prof. Zhiqiang Zhang, Former Associate Director of Food Safety Standards and Monitoring and Evaluation Division, NHC, Prof. Youfa Wang of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Prof. Jie Mi of National Center for Children’s Health & Beijing Children’s Hospital, Prof. Yiming Zhang of Beijing Sport University, Prof. Gengsheng He of Fudan University, Prof. Shankuan Zhu of Zhejiang University, Prof. Mingxiao Sun of Beijing Eden Hospital and other well-known experts made numerous suggestions on the future obesity prevention and control strategies and measures in China.

Some experts answered questions raised by the audiences. The participants highly appreciated the success of the “2022 World Obesity Day China Summit”, and wished for more such high-profile, interdisciplinary and inter-institutional exchange and cooperation events in the future.

OPCS-CNS promoted other activities as well, such as public education, academic exchange and promotion, community services, which mobilized the public. The events set up a unique platform for public education and exchanging ideas and will forge greater cross-sectoral and inter-disciplinary collaboration. 

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