n an interview with the May issue of Prevenir, João Breda, current coordinator of the European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO), also responsible for the Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Program of that international body, praises the evolution of the fight against what is one of the greatest scourges of current societies in national territory. “Portugal is a case of success in the fight against childhood obesity”, guarantees João Breda.
He addressed the preliminary results of the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Innitiative (COSI) Portugal, which is characterized by the systematic collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of descriptive information on the characteristics of children’s nutritional status in children aged 6 to 8 years. It allows child obesity to be monitored every 2-3 years and produces comparable data across European countries.
“There is a confirmed reduction of approximately 10% of excess weight in school-aged children [between six and nine years old]”, he stresses. João Breda warns, however, about the challenges that still exist around the world, “due to low levels of physical activity and an inadequate diet and too high in calories”.
“Obesity, especially at the level of children, continues to increase in the vast majority of countries and with a great incidence now in the more eastern regions, which also poses enormous challenges. Fortunately, there are signs of improvement in the cases of Portugal, Slovenia , Spain and Italy “, stresses the coordinator of the European WHO office who monitors the evolution of the problem. “Portugal’s situation is similar [to Europe’s]”, he points out, however.