Welcome to Xi'an Jiaotong University!

2024 World Obesity Day China Summit: Uniting Global Insights for Innovative Obesity Prevention and Control Strategies

March 07, 2024
  L M S

Correspondents: Shiyu LIU, Lihua YAN, Zhaozhang SUN

For the March 4th, 2024 "World Obesity Day (WOD)", the Obesity Prevention and Control Branch of the Chinese Nutrition Society (CNS) and the Global Health Institute (GHI) of Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU), in collaboration with other organizations, organized a series of events in China. These include "The "2024 World Obesity Day China Summit: Let's Talk About Obesity and …", "The Symposium of International Obesity Prevention and Treatment Strategies", release of research findings on major risk factors for obesity in Chinese adults and children, announcement of the 10 important achievements on obesity research in 2023 in China, introduction of a special issue of the Chinese Journal of Preventive Medicine on obesity research, and various public health education and community services to promote obesity prevention and control.


On March 3rd, 2024, the "World Obesity Day - China Summit" was held, bringing together domestic and international experts and leaders to discuss the global and domestic challenges of obesity and strategies for prevention and control. The Summit featured reports and discussions by about 30 authoritative experts and leaders from home and abroad, with over 550,000 participants nationwide.

Co-hosted by the Obesity Prevention and Control Branch of the CNS, the GHI of XJTU, and other organizations, this marked the third successful edition of the event since 2022. It received significant support and participation from the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Obesity Federation (WOF), the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), China's National Health Commission, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Chinese Preventive Medicine Association, and the CNS.

The conference was chaired by Professor Youfa Wang, Vice President of the Medical Science Center of XJTU, Dean of the GHI, and President of the Obesity Prevention and Control Branch of CNS, and Professor Wen Peng, Director of the Nutrition and Health Promotion Center at Qinghai University and Secretary-General of the Obesity Prevention and Control Branch of CNS.  The summit focused on topical issues in the field of obesity, aiming to advance China's efforts in obesity prevention and control, to help achieve the "Healthy China" national goals and foster international cooperation.

The theme of the 2024 WOD is "Let's Talk About Obesity and…". Professor Youfa Wang introduced the history and mission the WOD, and reviewed the series of related activities organized by his interdisciplinary international team since 2022, showcasing the achievements and activities of the CNS Obesity Prevention and Control Branch and its partners.


Distinguished leaders and experts including Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety at WHO; Martin Taylor, WHO Representative in China; Johanna Ralston, CEO of the WOF; Akhtar Hussain, President of the IDF; Qunan Mao, Executive Deputy Director of the Healthy China Action Leadership Group and Director-General of the Planning, Development and Information Department of the National Health Commission; Zijian Feng, Executive Vice President and Secretary-General of the Chinese Preventive Medicine Association and former Deputy Director of the Chinese CDC; and Aiguo Ma, Vice President of the CNS, delivered speeches.

They unanimously recognized and affirmed the significant importance of the WOD China Summit, organized since 2022, and expressed gratitude towards the CNS's Obesity Prevention and Control Branch, the GHI of XJTU, and other related institutions for their contributions to the global and Chinese obesity prevention and control efforts. They emphasized the need for all sectors to unite, shift traditional paradigms/mindset, and collectively and jointly advance the obesity prevention and control in China, the "Healthy China" initiative, and the development of the global health agenda.


The forum included 13 presentations from nearly 20 experts, covering topics ranging from global and national burdens of obesity, advances in obesity prevention and control strategies,  to new concepts and strategies for dietary interventions in obesity and so on. Specifically, distinguished speakers including Weiping Jia, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, chair professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and director of the Shanghai Diabetes Institute; Jiao Xu, director of the Food Nutrition Division of the National Health Commission; Donna Ryan, former president of the WOF; Professor Deliang Wen, secretary of the Party Committee of Jinzhou Medical University, former president of China Medical University, and vice-chairman of the Obesity Prevention and Control Branch of the CNS; Wei Chen, deputy director of the Clinical Nutrition Department of Peking Union Medical College Hospital; Ailing Liu, deputy director of the Nutrition Institute at the Chinese CDC, and Qian Zhang, director of the Student Nutrition Office, delivered their insightful presentations. 


It is noteworthy that special attention was given to obesity prevention for children and adolescents, reflecting President Xi Jinping's concern for children's health and the rising trend of obesity among Chinese children. Experts shared research findings on risk factors for Chinese children's obesity, interpreted dietary guidelines for children and adolescents, and discussed comprehensive obesity prevention and control strategies and policies throughout the lifecycle.


The forum also focused on the prevalence of obesity among the Chinese population and strategies for diagnosis and treatment, showcasing new research in obesity treatment, highlights of the key results of the Chinese translation of the 2024 World Obesity Atlas released by the WOF, key findings from studies on obesity risk factors in China, the top ten achievements in obesity research in 2023 in China, and the collection and evaluation results of excellent scientific popularization works on obesity prevention and control. This provided new theoretical and practical guidance for China's efforts in obesity prevention and control at various levels.


Experts discussed dietary intervention measures for obesity treatment, introducing the latest Adult Obesity Dietary Guidelines (2024 Edition) and the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents with Obesity (2024 Edition) released by the National Health Commission. These guidelines combine modern nutrition science with traditional dietary practices, integrating food materials and new food ingredients into reasonable diets, offering recipe examples and nutritional advice for different seasons, regions, and populations, and proposing dietary intervention measures and strategies for obesity prevention and control in China.


On March 4th , 2024, as part of the 2024 WOD events in China, the "Symposium of International Obesity Prevention and Treatment Strategies" was successfully held. The seminar featured 15 specially invited experts and over 460,000 participants attended the seminar online.

Professor Youfa Wang introduced the "International Obesity Prevention and Treatment Strategy Research Report" completed by his team for the first time. The study systematically reviewed the obesity prevention and treatment strategies and systems of the WHO, WOF, and various nations, summarizing pivotal and successful experiences. It also included consultations with authoritative experts both domestically and abroad, in-depth analyses of multiple countries’ obesity management policies and practices, and addressed the challenges of obesity prevention and treatment in China, resulting in a report with policy recommendations. During the conference, participating experts suggested that China should recognize obesity as a separate disease on the national health agenda, establish a policy system that covers the whole lifecycle of obesity prevention and treatment, and strengthen the construction of diagnosis, treatment, and medical insurance capabilities for obesity.

Around the time of 2024 WOD on March 4th, the Obesity Prevention and Control Branch of the CNS and the GHI of XJTU, among other institutions, proactively organized a series of obesity-related activities nationwide on obesity prevention and control. The concerted effort unfolded through a spectrum of outreach and health services operating out of hospitals, community health centers, educational institutions, and extended through strategic social media outreach. These actions were directed at bolstering China's strategic endeavours in obesity prevention and control, thereby contributing to achieve the "Healthy China" national goals.