Chronic diseases, also known as NCDs (non-communicable diseases), are a global health problem. Their characteristics, such as higher incidence in low- and middle-income countries and an increase with the aging population, like hypertension and type 2 diabetes, highlight the need for control measures. On the other hand, efforts to reduce obesity, itself a risk factor for other illnesses, are stagnating worldwide. Much of this is associated with the stigma related to the disease and the patients.
"We have made progress in recent decades, but obese people continue to be the targets of jokes, discriminatory remarks, and judgments," says Márcio Mancini, vice president of the Obesity Department at the Brazilian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Among the measures to control obesity are public policies aimed at promoting health, such as increased access to green areas, offering healthy food, especially in schools and near industries and workplaces, and promoting measures to combat sedentary behavior.
According to him, obese patients are often judged as if the condition were solely their responsibility, disregarding that, besides genetic predisposition, other factors also contribute to the increase in obesity. "Certainly, the responsibility is placed on the individual. Society sees a thin person and an obese person having fast food for lunch and does not judge the thin person, but judges the obese person," he says. He also noted that there are economic discriminations faced by people with obesity, who receive less pay for performing the same job as thin people.