Last week several close colleagues attended the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Dublin, Ireland. This year’s meeting had a stronger prevention focus than ever before.

Prevention takes centre stage at obesity congress

Sessions across the four-day congress underlined the urgency to step up prevention efforts and address the behavioural, socio-cultural, and environmental factors that drive obesity and related non-communicable diseases, in addition to more individual-based approaches used by healthcare professionals or people with obesity.

A workshop, Rethinking Obesity Prevention in the 21st Century, kicked off dialogue amongst delegates with a strong call to action that resonates well with Cities Changing Diabetes ambitions: “Modern public health strategies must integrate new insights about the complex causes and impacts of obesity, including our understanding about the interaction between psychosocial and biological determinants of health, and develop obesity prevention and health promotion programmes that are practical, feasible, equitable and measurable”. 

There was strong consensus among attendees, with more than 100 participants, speakers and experts agreeing that – despite all the complexities and past failures – a renewed effort must be made to develop, implement and expand cross-sector prevention programmes.