Thirty percent of the Belgian population currently suffer from obesity. The disease is defined by an excess of fat accumulation with a body mass index (BMI) equal or greater than 30.
Moreover, 65% of the country's inhabitants are considered overweight with a BMI between 25 and 30, La Dernière Heure reports.
The first Belgian association for obesity patients, Vox Obesity, was created today, coinciding with the World Obesity Day on 4 March.
The NGO aims to raise awareness of the disease. "Too many factors remain unknown," says Pascale Brughmans, founder of the association to DH. "Did you know that our genes account for about 40% to 70% of the prevalence of obesity? The disease is often caused by factors independent of the will of the person and results from biological, genetic and environmental causes."
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The association also wants to be heard by political authorities.
Belgium's Health Minister, Frank Vandenbroucke, on his part presented on Saturday a new integrated care pathway for children and young people. Its aim is threefold: to detect obesity as soon as possible on a scientific basis. Then to help and guide the young person and their family quickly and efficiently, and finally to offer them the necessary treatment and adequate support.
The care pathway will be developed by mid-2023 by a working group within the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance, INAMI.