Obesity: “There is an urgent need to act” especially in Overseas France, according to the authors of a report commissioned by the government

Obesity is one of the evils of the century that plagues the national territory. The situation is more alarming in the overseas territories than in France; this can be explained by consumption patterns, sedentary lifestyles or even the fact that there are more low-income households there as well. A recent report is synonymous with a roadmap for the government.

“Better prevention and management of obesity in France” is the title of a report submitted, ten days ago, to the Minister of Health and Prevention, François Braun and to the Minister of Solidarity, Autonomy and the Disabled, Jean-Christophe Combe. The latter entrusted this subject to the expertise of the co-authors, Martine Laville, professor of nutrition at a University of Lyon and Maryse Fourcade, member of the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs.

Targeting the Overseas Territories in particular, this 80-page roadmap, intended for political decision-makers, gives ways to deal with the problem of overweight, which concerns 17% of adults in France, or 8.5 million people. 17% of children are affected, including 4% who can be described as obese.

It will be a question, for the government, of strengthening its action, in the years to come, to reduce this scourge, from which flow many other pathologies. To achieve this objective, four objectives are formulated to mark a new ambition in the fight against obesity:

  • Reduce the incidence of obesity by acting primarily on the most disadvantaged;
  • Increase the number of overweight and obese people accessing care adapted to their situation;
  • Invest in research and innovation;
  • Invest as a priority in the Overseas Departments and Regions (DROM).

The overseas territories are more affected by the problem of obesity than France; the prevalence is for example 31% in the West Indies.
The phenomenon also affects twice as many low-income families. However, social inequalities are more accentuated here.

To face up to the multiple challenges of obesity, we must seize on this report and act without delay, in Overseas France, according to Marie-Lise Sextius, director of the Antilles-Guyana association for the fight against obesity, the overweight and physical inactivity in children (AGOSSE). The members of this structure are alarmed by the fact that more and more young people are concerned by this problem, more and more to a high degree.

We do not stop announcing, saying it and informing that we must invest in prevention. Patients who are obese must be taken care of. Today, unfortunately, our patients (our target audience, ie children and adolescents) are in severe or morbid situations. You have to educate. You have to educate the family. We have an obesogenic environment that influences. As long as we don’t work on this environment, we find ourselves facing a wall.

Marie-Lise Sextius, director of l’AGOSSE

Thanks to the expected national funding, Marie-Lise Sextius is hopeful that concrete actions can be developed and initiatives can be multiplied, locally, both by institutions and by associations.

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