- Autores: Beja A, Craveiro I, Ferrinho P
- Ano de Publicação: 2014
- Journal: Revista Portuguesa de Saúde Pública
- Link: http://www.elsevier.pt/en/revistas/revista-portuguesa-saude-publica-323/artigo-resumo/prevention-and-battle-against-obesity-in-children-and-90316100
Considered by WHO as a global epidemic and one of the greatest public health challenges of the twenty‐first century, Obesity is a chronic disease with multiple causes, especially behavioural changes like dietary changes and sedentary lifestyle. It is a risk factor for other conditions, such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, associated with the decrease of life quality of individual and the increase of health costs.
Overweight has immediate negative effects on individual health of young people, increasing the risk of Obesity and its co‐morbidities in their adult age. The fact of being a growing problem among children and youth, coupled with a relatively high permeability of members of these age groups to behavioral changes is at the basis of recommendations to a priority intervention with these groups.
Several studies show that the problem is growing among the Portuguese population, being the prevalence among children and youth one of the highest in Europe. This fact, together with the individual, social and economic burden of the disease, is of interest to those who study the evolution of health systems. With this investigation, we tried to understand the evolution of policies and strategies for preventing and combating Obesity among children and young people at strategic management level in Portugal.
With a qualitative methodology, we analyzed the semantic and content of a set of documents, including the Health Strategy (1998‐2002), the National Health Plan 2004‐2010 and the draft of the National Health Plan 2012‐2016, complementing it with ad hoc query with key informants.
Results and discussion
Our results permit one overview of strategic planning in Portugal and show that the increasing concern of Portuguese health authorities with the growing impact of Obesity in the population. However the concern with its increase among children and young people risen later in the strategic documents.
We established that the problem became a political priority after the approval of the European Charter on Counteracting Obesity, of which Portugal is a signatory member, and it’s possible to find a correspondence between the principles of the European Charter and the strategic guidelines of the National Health Plan 2012‐2016.