Ethicon Joins World Obesity Day 2020 to Combat Obesity Stigma Around the Globe


The World Obesity Federation predicts that by 2025 over 1 billion people will have obesity and 177 million adults will have severe obesity1, but the disease still carries substantial misconceptions and stigma, representing significant barriers to its prevention and treatment. Many still consider obesity a lifestyle choice, often blaming it on a lack of will power or inactivity that is best treated with diet and exercise alone.2,3 However, obesity is now recognized by most major medical groups4,5,6 as a complex chronic disease caused by interactions between genetic, behavioral, socioeconomic and environmental factors.7,8 The rising global epidemic of obesity demands a global response that breaks down the barriers to effective prevention and treatment. That’s why Ethicon—a world leader in bariatric surgery for more than 20 years—and a coalition of organizations that spans the world have come together for a new unified World Obesity Day on March 4, 2020.

This year’s theme for World Obesity Day is “the roots of obesity,” focusing on eliminating stigma and improving understanding of obesity so that more patients have greater access to safe and effective treatments. By partnering with bariatric societies, patient advocacy groups, payors and providers, Ethicon is leading the way to protect access to bariatric surgery around the world. Watch to learn more about our efforts to change the obesity narrative and improve care:

Patients with obesity deserve to feel supported by their healthcare providers with treatments that give them the best chance at improved health outcomes. Michelle Vicari, bariatric surgery patient and advocate, asks healthcare providers to “explain to us the science of obesity, give us understanding and support, help us build a team and provide us with resources.”

Many healthcare providers are more willing to address the consequences of obesity rather than the disease of obesity itself, despite the availability of safe and effective treatments. Multiple clinical guidelines recommend involvement of a physician and treatment that goes beyond diet and exercise alone for obesity, and particularly for severe obesity where bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment available, yet is rarely utilized.9 Research shows 80-90% of people with obesity who lose weight with diet and exercise regain it.10 For severe obesity, it’s even worse—men only have a 1 in 1,290 chance of reaching a healthy body weight without bariatric surgery while women have a 1 in 677 chance.11 Despite these realities, obesity patients still face significant challenges to receiving more effective long-term treatments. Read more about the barriers to bariatric surgery in our General Surgery News series.

Ethicon is committed to improving access to education around bariatric surgery for patients with obesity. Ethicon’s multidimensional approach spans technological innovation, landmark research, training and education, as well as policy and advocacy initiatives.

By providing a comprehensive portfolio of surgical solutions for a broad variety of bariatric procedures along with the most comprehensive suite of bariatric professional education and training programs; investment in advanced scientific research, clinical studies and economic evidence to understand and demonstrate the benefits of bariatric surgery; and helping expand and protect access to bariatric surgery throughout the world by promoting coverage from both public and private insurers, supporting obesity treatment guidelines, sponsoring public awareness efforts and collaborating on innovative benefit plan design.

Our measure of success is the people we impact around the world—the patients who are now enjoying longer, healthier lives.12 Ethicon invites you to join us in addressing the stigma, weight bias, and discrimination of people with obesity.

There are risks with any surgery, such as adverse reactions to medications, problems with anesthesia, problems breathing, bleeding, blood clots, inadvertent injury to nearby organs and blood vessels, even death. Bariatric surgery has its own risks, including failure to lose weight, nutritional or vitamin deficiencies, and weight regain. Patients should consult their physicians to determine if this procedure is appropriate for their condition.

1 Accessed February 20, 2020
2 Accessed February 20, 2020
3 Accessed February 20, 2020
4 American Medical Association. American Medical Association House of Delegates Resolution: 420 (A-13). Accessed February 20, 2020.
5 Accessed February 20, 2020
6 Garvey et al. (2016) American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American College of Endocrinology Comprehensive Clinical Practice Guidelines for Medical Care of Patients with Obesity. Endocrine Practice: July 2016, Vol. 22, No. Supplement 3, pp. 1-203.
7 Accessed February 20, 2020
8 Causes and Consequences– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed from: Accessed February 20, 2020
9 Accessed February 20, 2020
10 Rosenbaum M, Leibel RL. Adaptive thermogenesis in humans. Int J Obes (Lond). 2010;34(suppl 1):S47-S55. Accessed February 20, 2020
11 Accessed February 20, 2020
12 Accessed February 20, 2020