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Confronting Obesity in France

Confronting Obesity in France

From the periphery to the policy Agenda

Compared with its European neighbours, France has been slower to stake out a more aggressive policy for combatting obesity. In part, this is a simple question of numbers: around 15% of the country’s adult population was obese in 2014, well below the levels seen in England (24.8%), Germany (23.6%) or Spain (22.9%).

On the one hand, obesity policy in France has largely emphasised preventive care and behaviour-oriented initiatives, but on the other hand, the insurance system’s policy of fully reimbursing bariatric surgery has given France one of the largest uptake rates for such surgery in Europe.

The government’s national obesity plan, which ran from 2010 to 2013, was the first step towards creating a more unified, rather than piecemeal, approach to dealing with the condition. However, co-ordinated services are still fragmented around the country, and follow-up care after surgery remains insufficient, according to those interviewed for this case study.