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World Health Assembly opens: Director-General announces new initiative to end childhood obesity

2 little girls opening a present
May 20, 2014

World Health Organization – The World Health Assembly, the world’s health policy-making body, opened its Sixty-seventh session today with the election of Dr Roberto Tomas Morales Ojeda, Cuba’s Minister of Public Health, as its new President. Five vice-presidents were also appointed from Bahrain, Congo, Fiji, Lithuania, and Sri Lanka, representing their respective regions.

In her opening address to the Health Assembly, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan voiced her deep concern about the increase worldwide of childhood obesity, with numbers climbing fastest in developing countries. “As the 2014 World Health Statistics report bluntly states, ‘Our children are getting fatter’,” she said.

To gather the best possible advice on dealing with this crisis, Dr Chan announced that she has established a high-level Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. The Commission – co-chaired by Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor to New Zealand’s Prime Minister, and Dr Sania Nishtar, founder of Pakistan’s health policy think tank, Heartfile – will produce a consensus report specifying which approaches are likely to be most effective in different contexts around the world. The recommendations of the report will be announced at next year’s Health Assembly.