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Dieticians urge kindness on Italy's 18th National Obesity Day

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Dieticians urge kindness on Italy's 18th National Obesity Day
Image: The National Obesity Day Programme/ADI
14:35 CEST+02:00
As Italy observes its 18th National Obesity Day on Wednesday, an awareness campaign launched by the Italian Association of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition (ADI) has called for action to prevent discrimination against obese people.

In a public statement ADI stressed that obesity should be recognised as a medical condition, saying “It is fundamental that the media, large institutions, and the general public change the language and the imagery they use to portray obesity, recognising it for what it is, that is, a disease and not an aesthetic problem.”

With this premise, the organisation intends to present Italy's health minister with the Italian Obesity Network Manifesto, a document signed by several scientific bodies and patient associations which identifies four actions necessary to tackle the problem of obesity and social stigma around the condition, according to La Repubblica.

These include ending the use of negative imagery and language around obesity; fighting against workplace discrimination and bullying in schools; implementing policies to promote healthy food and more closely regulate the marketing and sale of unhealthy foods; and establishing positive relationships between doctors and patients.

READ ALSO: Six million Italians are obese - report

“So far preventative interventions have proved ineffective because they are based on the paradigm of personal responsibility… in reality, obesity is a complex condition that derives from the interaction of genetic, psychological and environmental factors,” said Dr. Giuseppe Fatati, president of ADI and the Italian Obesity Network.

In a country of 60 million people, obesity affects an estimated six million Italians, causing an estimated 57,000 deaths per year, while a further 22 million Italians are overweight, Ansa reports.

Throughout the day on Wednesday 120 of ADI's clinics across Italy will be open for free consultations, and twenty events will be held in public spaces throughout the country to raise awareness of the condition.

A free handbook distributed by ADI also provides advice for obese and overweight individuals who want to improve their health, which include walking at a steady pace for at least 45 minutes at least three times a week; identifying achievable long-term weight loss goals of approximately half a kilo a week, as opposed to crash dieting; reducing alcohol intake; and reducing intake of carbohydrates such as bread and potatoes, without the need to eliminate them from a person's diet altogether.

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