Danish Ambassador talked with Czech Members of Parliament and healthcare opinion leaders about obesity
Danish Ambassador Søren Kelstrup hosted a meeting with Members of Parliament lead by Healthcare Committee Chair Bohuslav Svoboda and healthcare opinion leaders to share information and current developments on the topic of obesity. Daniela White and Robert Sýkora from Danish company Novo Nordisk also joined the group since it is their company, which deals with treating diabetes, but most currently obesity as well.
Firstly, Pernille Andersen from the Danish National Center for Obesity explained why obesity is an important issue in Denmark and why the Danish Ministry of Health established their center in 2020. The main reason was the increasing number of people living with overweight and obesity and data and information about the causes, comorbidities, complexity, prevention, treatment, and health consequences of obesity were missing and needed. Their center is one point for knowledge sharing, collaboration, research, and public education regarding overweight and obesity.
Then, we heard insights from Czech renowned professors dealing with obesity in the Czech Republic. Both publish their opinions in professional and mass media on nutrition and obesity.
Prof. Martin Haluzík from IKEM talked about the fact that obesity often accompanies other illnesses, too, and increases healthcare costs for the whole society. The lower the overweight is, the lower incidence of health complications patients have and the lower costs healthcare insurance companies have to pay. Prof. Martin Haluzík called for a national strategy of obesity or more attention to obesity in healthcare strategic documents as in other countries. Obese people with complications should get the complex treatment by obesitologist, nutrition therapist, physiotherapist, psychologist and other specialists needed.
Prof. Štěpán Svačina who is a chairman of the Czech Medical Society of Jan Evangelista Purkyně also confirmed that obesity is associated with multiple comorbidities and complications and elaborated on diseases which obese people tend to have.
After the meeting, we could conclude that obesity is becoming an issue of interest for Czech politics. Although obesity is still not perceived as an illness, one recognizes that people with obesity tend to have more healthcare complications than people with normal BMI. Now, a consensus in the higher political spheres is needed where healthcare providers, insurance companies and other healthcare stakeholders are included. Thank you all the participants for their views and insights.