Call for action: half of humanity could be overweight or obese by 2035

Kids are at risk of obesity/Shutterstock Images

The World Obesity Federation has warned in a new report that more than four billion people (51 per cent of humanity) will be affected by obesity or will be classed as overweight by 2035, unless action is taken.

African and Asian low- to middle-income nations are expected to see the most rises in the incidence of this health phenomenon. Children are mostly at risk with the rates expected to double from 2020.

The report predicts the financial burden of obesity to be more than $ 4 trillion annually by 2035, equating to 3 per cent of global GDP.

Reasons include trends in eating more highly processed foods, and their increasing availability, greater levels of sedentary behaviour as more people work from home in seated positions, weaker policies to control food supply and marketing, and less well-resourced healthcare services to assist people to manage their weight, plus a lack of health education.

Professor Louise Baur, the president of the federation, said the trend was “particularly worrying”, adding that “governments and policymakers around the world need to do all they can to avoid passing health, social, and economic costs on to the younger generation” by assessing “the systems and root factors” that contribute to obesity.

Their website, releasing the report, reads: “World Obesity Federation calls for comprehensive national action plans to help countries act on new World Health Organization (WHO) Recommendations for the Prevention and Management of Obesity. The Atlas report will be presented at a high-level policy event on 6 March to UN policymakers, member states and civil society.”

The report emphasises that its acknowledgement of the economic impact of obesity “is in no way a reflection of blame on people living with obesity”.

The data published in the report will be presented to the UN this Monday.

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