The obesity epidemic: It will take the entire village

Koert van Ittersum

Professor of Marketing and Consumer Well-being Watch talk


Globally 2.2 billion people are overweight or obese. Obesity has severe individual, societal, and economic consequences. The harsh reality is that obesity actually turned into the leading cause of preventable death around the world. We are eating ourselves to death, and we are doing this at an increasing rate, including here in Friesland.

When breaking down obesity to its essence—an excess of body fat as a result of the overconsumption of calories—it is tempting to conclude that preventing and controlling obesity is a purely individual responsibility. However, based on years of academic research, Van Ittersum concludes that the problem in fact is far too complex to resolve individually. It will require a collective effort. Van Ittersum calls on the entire village – policy makers, practitioners, and academics – to join forces and enable individuals to increase control over their caloric intake and reach and maintain a healthy weight.