Ongoing WDHD Campaigns

Message from the Co-Chairs

Dear Colleagues,

Periodically, the world is shocked when infectious pandemics occur. Undoubtedly, 2020 will be remembered as the year of the COVID 19 pandemic that has made such an extraordinary impact on the world. We can be optimistic that a vaccine, specific treatment and epidemiological measures are likely to find a solution for controlling COVID 19. At the same time, the ongoing pandemic of obesity impacts the world’s population with equally devastating but clearly not as dramatic effects as COVID. The impact of obesity on the development of comorbidities and subsequently the effect on life expectancy is as devastating as any infectious pandemic. The only difference is the acuteness of the disease; infections having a relatively fast effect whilst the effects of obesity on life expectancy are more insidious, more devastating but less acute. What makes obesity even more impactful as a pandemic is the knowledge that it can be potentially preventable. Once it has gone beyond prevention and easy cure, we have at our disposal a number of therapeutic approaches that have been shown to be effective in stemming the pandemic. The challenge for us is to be able to deliver affordable care of obesity and its comorbidities to a world with variable resources, expertise and cultural practices.

The World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) has partnered with The International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) to raise awareness of Obesity as the ongoing pandemic through its annual public advocacy and awareness campaign, World Digestive Health day (WDHD).

WDHD is celebrated each year on May 29th with associated activities and initiatives continuing throughout and beyond the campaign year. WDHD will provide gastroenterologists, surgeons, nutritionists their patients, and the lay public, with an understanding of the latest basic and clinical research in the pathogenesis, investigation and treatment of obesity. This campaign seeks to translate research into clinical practice and facilitate communication between physicians, allied health professionals, healthcare payers, and the public. We want to ensure that patients receive appropriate dietary and lifestyle advice as well as appropriate investigations and treatment, relevant to their condition and circumstances. We want to ensure awareness of the disease and its management is raised in countries that make up the membership of WGO and IFSO.

The task will be supported by a Steering Committee with a global perspective. The Steering Committee will provide expertise on the management of Obesity guiding the course of the campaign and the development of the educational and training materials, in collaboration with WGO and IFSO Member Societies, which will define this global initiative and provide the resources to sustain the effort throughout the year.

Through a multi-faceted WDHD 2021 campaign, WGO and IFSO seek to achieve the following main goals: provide simple messages for the general public in order to assist them in understanding how obesity affects one's daily life and its importance in one's health; develop information for healthcare professionals - both the generalist and the specialist. Educational material is planned and will be distributed worldwide via a variety of fora; in multiple languages. 

Please join us in ensuring its success.


Professor Lilian Kow

Co-Chair, WDHD 2021


Professor James Toouli

Co-Chair, WDHD 2021


Professor Reem Sharaiha

Co-Chair, WDHD 2021


Professor Guilherme Macedo

WGO President-elect, Foundation Chair