Largest study of its kind reveals reasons why people with obesity are not receiving adequate care

Lebanon, Beirut,  October – Under the high patronage of His Excellency, Minister of Health Jamil Jabak, the Ministry of Public Health, in collaboration with the Lebanese Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Lipids (LSEDL), has launched today the first national obesity day at Le Gray Hotel in Beirut. The scientific day was dedicated to address the newly-recognized disease

Dr. Paola Atallah, president of the LSEDL said “that obesity is a chronic disease that requires long-term management especially that New international study shows that while many healthcare professionals recognise obesity as a disease, most people living with the disease are still not being treated .”

Eight in ten people with obesity (PwO) believe it is their sole responsibility to lose weight, and wait six years after initial weight loss struggles before speaking to their healthcare professional (HCP), according to new global data from ACTION IO (Awareness, Care, and Treatment In Obesity MaNagement – an International Observation). These findings come at the same time as several global and European medical organisations have recognised obesity as a disease, but the way obesity is being treated and the outcome of such treatment is still highly variable.

ACTION IO surveyed over 14,500 PwO and nearly 2,800 HCPs from 11 countries in five continents. The objectives of the ACTION IO Study were to identify perceptions, attitudes, behaviours, and potential barriers to effective obesity care across PwO and HCPs. The results mark the first time key barriers to obesity care have been identified on a truly international scale. Results from the study highlight that:

  • 71% of HCPs believe PwO are not interested in losing weight, while only 7% of PwO said they are not interested, illustrating a clear gap in perception regarding interest to lose weight
  • 81% of PwO had made at least one serious weight-loss effort in the past, while HCPs believed only 35% of their patients had done so

“Obesity is one of the most complex, chronic health challenges faced by our society today, yet the current approach to obesity management falls short compared to other similar chronic diseases,” commented Professor Ian Caterson, ACTION IO Lead Investigator and Foundation Director of the Boden Institute at the University of Sydney, “The ACTION IO findings provide important evidence of barriers to good, consistent obesity management. As a healthcare community, we must address these barriers to care and initiate earlier, effective weight management conversations with PwO without fear of offence. PwO clearly want to lose weight and we should support them.”

Stathis Psimmenos, Novo Nordisk General Manager said “There is a need to put Obesity on the national agenda and explore new approaches, tools and recommendations to improve the management of obesity on a local scale. We hope that these findings can help remove the barriers between people living with obesity and their healthcare providers and drive more active engagement in the treatment of obesity.”


ACTION IO is the largest study of its kind to investigate barriers to obesity management from the perspective of PwO and HCPs. The study surveyed over 14,500 PwO and nearly 2,800 HCPs from 11 countries, including: Australia, Chile, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, UAE and the UK. ACTION IO supplements the valuable insights gained from ACTION studies conducted in the US and Canada and has helped generate a unique and comprehensive picture of barriers in obesity care across a global population, as well as bespoke country-by-country insights to guide meaningful action on obesity. ACTION IO and the ACTION studies conducted in the US and Canada were sponsored and funded by Novo Nordisk.

About obesity

Obesity is a chronic disease requiring long-term management. Complex and multifactorial in nature, obesity is influenced by genetic, physiological, environmental and psychological factors and is associated with many serious health consequences.

The global increase in the prevalence of obesity is a public health issue that has severe cost implications to health care systems. Despite the high prevalence of obesity, many PwO lack support in their efforts to lose weight and the disease remains substantially underdiagnosed and underreported. Obesity is estimated to afflict between 18 and 32 percent of people in Lebanon.