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Health. Obesity – 9 million adult Poles suffer from obesity. Educational campaign

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Already nine million adult Poles are obese – experts warn. And they indicate that the number of children and adolescents with excessive body weight is still increasing. A new educational campaign discusses the consequences of obesity and the harmful stigma associated with it.

The fifth edition of the nationwide educational campaign “Let's talk honestly about obesity” started on Wednesday. Its aim is to change the perception of obesity among Polish women and men and to refute harmful stereotypes. This year's edition is held under the slogan: “Honestly about obesity. With love.”

Experts spoke about obesity and its consequences during a conference on obesity organized in Warsaw. – We have just crossed the threshold of a health catastrophe in Poland: at this point we already have nine million adult Poles suffering from obesity. Every year, there are approximately 400,000 children and adolescents with excessive body weight: this may mean that the young generation will statistically live shorter than their parents and grandparents – emphasized Prof. Lucyna Ostrowska, president of the Polish Society for the Treatment of Obesity, substantive patron of the campaign.

Overweight and obesity in Poland PAP

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– Obesity in the youngest population contributes to the early development of many complications that were once “reserved” mainly for adults: type II diabetes, hypertension, but also insulin resistance, sleep apnea and metabolic disorders. In addition, there are psychological consequences, such as depression, the expert said.

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Obesity among children and adolescents

Prof. Artur Mazur, head of the 2nd Department of Pediatrics, Endocrinology and Diabetology of the Clinical Provincial Hospital in Rzeszów, cited data WHO, indicating that Polish children and teenagers are gaining weight the fastest in Europe. Overweight and obesity, which are the most common physical development disorders, affect approximately 10%. youngest children (1–3 years), 25 percent three-year-olds, 33 percent children of early school age and almost 22 percent youth up to 15 years of age.

As emphasized by prof. Ostrowska, the support of parents and guardians plays an important role in stopping the wave of diseases among children and teenagers, therefore the 5th edition of the campaign will emphasize the role of the family in the prevention, diagnosis and comprehensive treatment of obesity in the young population. – Family (…) is the first place where eating habits and those related to physical activity are developed. The role of caregivers is extremely important, but effective support in obesity can be provided by every family member, including grandparents, sisters, brothers, spouses and life partners. Patients often share with us, doctors, the reflection that it is the people they care for and who care about them that are the best motivation to deal with the disease of obesity and take care of its prevention – added Prof. Ostrowska.

Overweight and obesity / body mass index BMIPAP

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Harmful stigmatization of people with obesity

This year's campaign ambassadors include: actors: Kacper Łukasiewicz, Bartłomiej Nowosielski and Robert Kudelski. The first of them, a young generation actor and law student, got involved in a campaign to raise awareness of how harmful the stigmatization that affects young people struggling with obesity is.

– I am 21 years old and I have been struggling with obesity for as long as I can remember. It started sometime in elementary school. And although my disease is now in remission, I know it can come back. As a child, I experienced painful hate on the Internet. I started playing the role Cuba in one of the popular TV series at the age of five. The topic of my excessive body weight became the subject of attacks on one of the social networking sites. Groups numbering tens of thousands of people were formed: there were mainly adults who did not know me or the history of my illness, and yet my appearance was an excuse for verbal violence for them. They used words towards me that I could not forget for a long time. And they suggested to my parents that my weight was “the result of their irresponsibility”, that “they should lock the fridge”, that “they could make me disabled”. Meanwhile, I was under constant medical care and my parents supported me very much. I want to tell other young people that they are not alone with obesity – emphasized Kacper Łukasiewicz.

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This year's campaign will also include practical educational tools, including: “Help for parents and guardians”, a study prepared with the involvement of an interdisciplinary group of experts. It will include recommendations on eating habits, physical activity, psychological and medical support for those who are looking for tips on how to support their child on the way to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Obesity PAP/Maria Samczuk

Main photo source: SUPERMAO/Shutterstock

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