The challenge of addressing obesity, as with many other societal problems, is its complexity. The obesity epidemic involves an intricate mix of physical, behavioural, environmental, social, economic and political factors that cannot be solved with a simple solution and neither can any single sector or group hope to effectively address it in isolation. Appropriate solutions for complex problems require collaboration across sectors, organizations and disciplines.
However, there is a chronic lack of trust that impedes the development and support of collaboration, in part, because the public discourse on obesity is too often polarized, making private and public cooperation amongst actors all the more difficult.
The conversation on how to overcome the lack of trust and explore trust-building as a foundation for collaborations has evolved at a series of Building Trust workshops: the first workshop held in November 2008 , followed by a second in May 2009 , and then a third in February 2011.
The Building Trust Initiative aims to bring together leaders from different countries and working in different sectors, such as government, industry, NGO, public health practice, and academia. It offers a platform for open, honest and respectful exchanges to work towards building trust and encourage cross-sector collaboration in order to win the fight against the epidemic of obesity and chronic diseases.