Identifying key priorities for people living with obesity: The PA-AP Obesity Citizens’ Charter

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a conference


Identifying key priorities for people living with obesity: The PA-AP Obesity Citizens' Charter
Schreurs L1, Van der Schueren B2, 3, Nele Steenackers2, Sofia Pazmino2, Bowman-Busato J4, De Cock D1
1 Biostatistics and Medical Informatics Research Group, Department of Public Health, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.
2 Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology, Department of Chronic Diseases and Metabolism, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
3 Department of Endocrinology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
4 PA-AP foundation, Brussels, Belgium.
Background: The public perceives obesity as a strict weight or body mass index (BMI) related issue and generally regards it as a disbalance between energy intake and expenditure, hence easily manageable by diet and exercise. Unfortunately, this eat-less-exercise-more approach is unsuccessful as the prevalence of Belgians living with pre-obesity (49.3%) and obesity (15.9%) keep on increasing (1). A shift in perspective and an increase in awareness are needed to tackle the epidemic.
Objective: The aim of the study was to identify the current key priorities for patients living with obesity in Belgium.
Methods: The Belgian Foundation for the Rights of People Living with Obesity (PA-AP) supported by researchers from VUB and KUL drafted a survey to investigate perceptions of patients living with obesity in Belgium. The survey was iteratively developed by aids of focus groups and extensive review. The survey was sent out between October 31, 2022, to December 5, 2022 via mail and social media. Personal and professional networks were used to distribute the online survey. The survey included questions related to practice and patient demographics, understanding of the disease obesity, root causes of adult obesity, access to diagnoses, treatment, and health data. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: A total of 125 participants completed the survey with 74% (88/120) women and a mean ± SD age of 49 ±14 years. Participants used mostly the words overweight, fat and BMI to express their personal definition of obesity. Participants indicated they felt well-informed about what obesity is. In contrast, 78% (94/120) of participants felt that people around them did not understand obesity. Food intake, mental health and a lack of exercise were considered as the most important root causes for adult obesity. In total, 32% (38/117) of the participants did not consider themselves to be living with obesity, while 90% (108/120) indicated to have been diagnosed with obesity once. Participants expressed a lack of long-term follow-up, mental support, as well as a multidisciplinary approach during treatment for obesity.
Conclusion: A lack of an in-depth understanding of obesity as a biological chronic disease was observed, combined with a need for improved long-term management of patients suffering from obesity. The development of an obesity healthcare path, embedded in the citizens’ charter for the rights of people living with obesity, may help address knowledge gaps concerning obesity.
Period3 Feb 2023
Held atBASO (Belgian Association for the study of Obesity), Belgium
Degree of RecognitionNational