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Experts warn of obesity upsurge within a decade

2.7 billion adults worldwide will be overweight by 2025

Adrian O'Dowd

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Experts are warning of a dangerous rise in the number of people who could become obese within the next decade.

The World Obesity Federation have today released figures that predict that if current trends continue, 2.7 billion adults will be overweight by 2025 – up from 2 billion in 2014.

The warning, timed to coincide with World Obesity Day today, is based on estimates produced using World Health Organization (WHO) and World Obesity Federation figures.

The Federation also said that on current trends, 177 million adults worldwide will be severely obese and in need of treatment by 2025.

In 2012, governments from around the world made a commitment to bring down the prevalence of overweight and obesity to 2010 levels by the year 2025.

The Federation said it wanted to remind governments of this commitment and to call for urgent action to work towards it.

Federation president Professor Walmir Coutinho said: “The obesity epidemic has reached virtually every country worldwide, and overweight and obesity levels are set to continue to rise. Governments know the present epidemic is unsustainable and doing nothing is not an option.

“They have agreed to tackle obesity and to bring down obesity prevalence to 2010 levels by the year 2025. If governments hope to achieve the WHO target of keeping obesity at 2010 levels, then the time to act is now.

“We need to improve the delivery of weight management and treatment services to ensure access for every person who needs them. Medical services will need funding, staff will need training, and proper care pathways developed to ensure everyone has access to the care they need.”

Consumption of sugary drinks worldwide over the past 10 years had increased by a third, the Federation stressed, saying that more than half of the world’s population now lived in urban environments, while a quarter of adults and 4 in 5 young people aged 11-17 failed to get sufficient physical activity.

Dr Tim Lobstein, director of policy at the Federation added: “Common risk factors such as soft drink consumption and sedentary working environments, have increased, fast food advertising continues and greater numbers of people live in urban environments without access to green spaces.

“Governments have accepted the need for regulatory measures such as market controls, taxes and subsidies, setting standards for catering services and investment in healthy schools – but few governments are implementing these measures.

“Governments should take a number of actions to help prevent obesity, including introducing tough regulations to protect children from the marketing of unhealthy food, ensuring schools promote healthy eating, strengthening planning and building rules to ensure safe neighbourhoods, encouraging workplaces to offer and promote healthy food choices and physical activity and introducing taxes and subsidies to make healthier food cheaper and unhealthy food more expensive.”

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