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PACO III – Pan American Conference on Obesity

By Lideke Middelbeek


Hundreds of health professionals, legislators and administrators from health NGOs and 32 ministers of health or their representatives gathered at the third Pan American Conference on Obesity from 6-8 June in Aruba to discuss the obesity epidemic in the region and look for practical solutions to this growing problem.


The third Pan American Conference on Obesity’s host, Arubian Minister of Health Richard Visser, stressed in his opening address that PACO focuses on the general wellness of a country by promoting fit, active children and thus preventing obesity and the chronic diseases that result at younger and younger ages.


Several sessions at the conference focused on physical activity as a tool to improve health and wellbeing. The American School of Sports Medicine conducted a training session for professionals about their ‘Exercise is Medicine’ concept. Another training session was delivered by the EPODE International Network; they stipulated the importance of using community-based strategies to tackle rising childhood obesity prevalences.


Just before the closure of the plenary program CaribActive presented its outlook on how to ensure the sustainability of PACO’s outcomes. Its Chair, Clemence Ross, proposed a platform on which the contributing partners are responsible for monitoring the commitments of the participating countries. It also suggested ways of making all initiatives that already exist in the region visible and sharing promising practices that are sustainable and easy to implement, also in countries with less resources.


Visit the PACO website to find out more about the conference here>>>


Lideke Middelbeek is a Senior Advisor at the Dutch consultancy Consult Actief. CaribActive is an independent NGO based Aruba and run by Consult Actief.