“Care must not overshadow prevention” | EUROtoday

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La Professor Martine Laville is the writer of the report “Better prevention and management of obesity in France”, submitted in April 2023 to the Ministry of Health. Until 2023, she directed the Integrated Obesity Center of the Hospices Civils de Lyon (Rhône).

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Point : Is there a French exception to weight problems?

Professor Martine Laville: One may consider this when studying the outcomes, extensively reported in March, of an article within the Lancet. These researchers have been within the weight problems epidemic on this planet – greater than 1 billion persons are affected – however they highlighted a couple of uncommon exceptions, together with France, the place the weight problems charge is declining. Their conclusions are inaccurate, as a result of they’re based mostly on a pattern of a inhabitants that’s wealthier than the common French particular person. In abstract, we’re sadly not an exception, even when we’re nonetheless removed from being among the many worst college students on this planet.

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On the one hand, obese is not rising among the many French – the curves have stagnated since 2012. On the opposite hand, the weight problems charge continues to rise: 17% of the final inhabitants is now affected, an virtually doubling. in twenty years. The charge is especially worrying within the class of large weight problems, outlined by a physique mass index higher than 40.

How can we clarify this hole between stabilized extra weight and hovering weight problems?

There is nice heterogeneity relying on social origins. The stabilization of obese is due particularly to the effectiveness of the National Nutrition and Health Program, established since 2001. The repeated prevention messages and people of the a number of campaigns on balanced weight loss program have been effectively built-in by a part of the inhabitants, primarily the perimeter the best. On the opposite hand, these messages miss the goal of individuals from much less advantaged backgrounds, who’re extra typically uncovered to many weight problems components linked to life-style and consumption. And it’s on this phase of the inhabitants that weight problems is rising the quickest. There is nearly 2.5 occasions extra weight problems amongst individuals dwelling on lower than 1,000 euros per thirty days than amongst these dwelling on greater than 4,200 euros.

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The stabilization of the common weight of French kids is actual, however deceptive. It hides a big hole between social circles. For instance, the youngsters of staff are 4 occasions extra prone to be overweight than these of managers. If the development is relatively in direction of a discount in weight amongst kids from advantaged backgrounds, it’s the reverse for kids from different backgrounds. What is problematic is that weight problems impacts sufferers who’re youthful and youthful and in more and more extreme varieties. We are seeing instances that didn’t exist ten or fifteen years in the past. This is a worrying marker for the way forward for our society since one in two overweight kids will change into an overweight grownup.

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Some of our culinary traditions are treasured, akin to three meals eaten collectively at common occasions. Eating is a social act. Sharing meals additionally helps educate individuals in regards to the style of meals and may thus contribute to adopting a extra assorted weight loss program. Furthermore, in France, we’ll simply inform a baby who complains of being hungry between meals to attend till they arrive to the desk. Conversely, in Anglo-Saxon international locations for instance, snacking is cultural. This development is sadly spreading to our nation. However, our physique is made to alternate durations of consuming and durations of fasting, the place it makes use of this meals to perform. Snacking forces the physique to continually be in a physiological “feeding” part with increased insulin ranges and, finally, elevated fats storage.

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This is the beginning of an necessary story. But care mustn’t overshadow prevention. The urgency, in France, is to equip ourselves with an weight problems plan as formidable because the most cancers plan, orchestrated by Matignon over ten years, renewable. Let's not be naive: nonetheless efficient they could be, medicines alone won’t be able to unravel the weight problems epidemic!