Health and Science

Nearly ALL adults in this country will be overweight

'No Diet Day' as weight-loss sector gets fatter

Unless Europe's governments take immediate action, the region will be dealing with an obesity epidemic of "enormous proportions" by 2030, according to new projections released by the World Health Organization and UK researchers.

Ireland is predicted to be a frontrunner, with almost all adults there expected to be overweight within 15 years. WHO estimates that 89 percent of Irish men and 85 percent of women will be overweight by 2030, with more than half in each category being obese. According to the WHO, overweight people have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 and over, while obese people have a BMI of over 30.

It's not just Ireland who'll have to watch their weight. Many developed countries like Greece, Czech Republic and Spain are now being warned to make note, with obesity rates in Greek women doubling from 20 percent to 40 percent by 2030.

On top of that, nearly three quarters of men (74 percent) and two thirds of women (64 percent) in the UK will be overweight by then.

An increase in weight may be linked to an increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.
Ronaldo Schemidt | AFP | Getty Images

WHO suggests that even countries who aren't typically associated with obesity, like Sweden and Austria, will also see sharp rises within the next 15 years. Sweden will see obesity rates almost double in both men (to 26 percent) and women (to 22 percent) by 2030, compared to 2010's records.

However, while signs of stability or a drop in overweight rates seem bleak, one country looks set to buck the trend: The Netherlands.' The country's data shows a decrease in all areas by 2030, compared to 2010's rates.

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The world's population has gotten heavier over the last 35 years, with over 1.9 billion adults being overweight in 2014 – a third of which were obese, according to the World Health Organization.

While obesity can be prevented or tackled, a 2014 report suggested that every year, obesity costs the world $2 trillion (2.8 percent of the world's gross domestic product) and is a cause of 5 percent of deaths, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.

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Dr Laura Webber, from the UK Health Forum said that this latest set of predictions reveals a "worrying picture" for obesity in Europe, and more must be done.

"Although there is no 'silver bullet' for tackling the epidemic, governments must do more to restrict unhealthy food marketing and make healthy food more affordable," Webber said in a statement accompanying the WHO report.

Treating obesity

The experts involved, including Webber, stated however that many of the countries provided "insufficient data" and should improve their surveillance on this issue, to ensure better forecasts and ways to crack down on this problem.

These projections were a collaborative effort of those working at WHO's regional office for Europe, Copenhagen, and the UK Health Forum, London; who presented their findings today at the European Obesity Conference in Prague.

The team looked at data from 53 countries and compared both the levels of overweight and obese men and women in 2010, and matched it up against projected 2030 data.

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