Overweight and obesity have reached “epidemic” proportions in Europe and continue to grow, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned in a report on Tuesday, urging countries to take action to curb these diseases. In the document, it has been pointed out that 59% of adults and almost one in three children are overweight or obese. Only America has a higher prevalence of obesity for adults than Europe, the EFE Agency has reported.
None of the 53 countries that make up the WHO European region, which also includes Russia and several former Soviet republics, is on track to meet the goal of halting the rise in obesity and overweight by 2025, which cause around 1 .2 million annual deaths, 13% of the total in the region. Obesity also increases the risk of many noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
The WHO report highlights that overweight people have been affected “disproportionately” by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, with harmful changes in food consumption and physical activity that will have effects on the health of the population in the next few years and they will be difficult to reverse.
“Obesity knows no borders. In Europe and Central Asia, no country is going to meet the goal of curbing the rise in obesity,” said Hans Kluge, director of WHO-Europe, who has aimed to increase investment and innovation in health to develop solid systems to change the tendency.
The WHO recalls that obesity is a complex phenomenon that goes far beyond the combination of an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity and that the early phases of life are fundamental in the propensity to develop obesity later on.
Digital marketing of unhealthy food products to children and the proliferation of online games are contributing to the rise in overweight and obesity, the report warns.