Video Message by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on World Obesity Day
4 March 2020
Today is World Obesity Day. And I have one message for you: let’s focus on our children. That means physical activity and eating right starting from early life. Our children are our future, and yet they may have shorter lives than ours if we don’t take action.
Obesity rates have nearly tripled since 1975 and have increased almost five times in children and adolescents. Obesity is a major risk factor for serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
Obesity has many root causes that go beyond the individual – blaming and shaming is no good. Together, we can make a difference, focusing on prevention and promoting healthy lifestyles. We must make the healthy choice the easy choice. There is a lot we can do, including restricting the marketing to children of food and drinks high in fats, sugar and salt; taxing sugary drinks, and providing better access to affordable, healthy food. In our cities and towns, we need to make space for safe walking, cycling, and recreation. We must teach our children healthy habits from early on. The small choices we make each and every day help us and our families to get healthy and to stay healthy.
I thank you.