• Andalusia continues to be concerned about the increase in obesity in children and adolescents, seeking solutions to improve their health and quality of life. 

Healthy nutritionEvery year it is celebrated on March 4 world obesity day, sponsored by the World Obesity Federation. A day of unified action that calls for a cohesive and intersectoral response to the obesity crisis. Andalusia continues to be concerned about the increase in obesity in children and adolescents, seeking solutions to improve their health and quality of life.

This event, under the motto "Let's talk about obesity" seeks to raise the awareness about obesity as a global disease and a global challenge, changing the way it is addressed throughout society; improve policies at the local, regional and national levels by creating a healthy environment that promotes health and helps prevent it; and encourage the creation of platforms to share experiences in addressing obesity.

Comprehensive Childhood Obesity Plan of Andalusia

In Andalusia the Comprehensive Childhood Obesity Plan of Andalusia (PIOBIN), an initiative promoted by the Ministry of Health and Consumption, through the General Directorate of Public Health and Pharmaceutical Regulation. The purpose of this update is to develop a strategic plan that involves all social sectors, institutions and the population in general. This aims to improve the health and quality of life of children and adolescents.

More than 40 experts are participating in this process, with the methodological support of the IAVANTE Line of the Progreso y Salud Foundation. To this end, a Coordination Committee has been established, made up of the management of the Comprehensive Childhood Obesity Plan of Andalusia, the Local Health Promotion and Action Service of the Ministry and the Andalusian Health Service.

The three main areas of action of the new plan are:

  • La communication and information for the Andalusian population
  • La health promotion and primary prevention
  • La healthcare and information systems.

The participating experts include health promotion and communication technicians, professionals from pediatrics, endocrinology, nursing, social work, representatives of the Confederation of Parents' Associations and Unicef, social workers, psychologists and experts in sports sciences, among others. .

The situation in Andalusia

To evaluate the current situation of overweight in the child population in Andalusia, the most recent data available predates the pandemic. According to the 2016 Andalusian Health Survey, Among children between 2 and 15 years old, 19,7% are overweight (21,2% of boys and 18,1% of girls), while around 11,3% are obese (12,2% of boys and 10,3% of girls). Both overweight and obesity are more common in boys than in girls. For every 10 children there are 3 with excess weight (overweight plus obesity), 2 with overweight and 1 with obesity.

The most recent data from the 2019 ALADINO Andalusia Study, carried out in children aged 6 to 9, indicate that the epidemic of excess weight in children and adolescents seems to have stabilized in the last decade, although it still presents higher levels than Spain as a whole. It highlights that 90,6% of parents of overweight children consider that their children have a normal weight, and in the case of children with obesity, 43,3% of parents believe that their children's weight is normal.

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How to prevent obesity

The main cause of obesity is linked to a increased intake of high-calorie foods. Added to this is a reduction in physical activity due to a sedentary lifestyle both in the workplace and in the family, social environment and advances in transportation. In addition, other factors such as genetic, psychological, sociocultural, economic and environmental factors can contribute to the origin and maintenance of obesity.

To determine if we are obese or overweight, we use the body mass index (BMI), which relates weight to height. It is considered overweight when the BMI is equal to or greater than 25 and obese when it exceeds 30.

To reduce or prevent obesity, it is essential adopt a healthy diet and engage in physical activity. The World Health Organization recommends limiting fat and sugar intake, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, and exercising regularly.

The Government of Juanma Moreno has been working on the creation of a new Strategy for the Promotion of a Healthy Life in Andalusia. This strategy, currently in the design phase, seeks to promote healthy habits in all ages and segments of the population. Through interventions at the local level, in all living environments and in all policies, addressing the factors that cause health inequalities. Likewise, it proposes to enhance personal and community assets that generate health throughout life, so that citizens can face day-to-day life with greater levels of well-being.