Obesity: it now affects 1 in 4 adults in Europe

In a new report, the World Health Organization (WHO) is alarmed by an epidemic of overweight and obesity in Europe. They would be responsible for more than 1.2 million deaths per year.

Obesity and overweight continue to grow in Europe, to such an extent that the World Health Organization (WHO) is alerting to the “epidemic” that is hitting the continent, in a new report published this May 3. “Overweight rates have reached epidemic proportions across the region and continue to rise“, deplores the European branch of the organization in a press release.

On the European continent, almost a quarter of adults are considered obese, a higher prevalence than in all other regions of the world except the Americas, according to the WHO. “Increased body mass index is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases, including cancers and cardiovascular disease“, said Hans Kluge, Director of WHO Europe. Indeed, obesity is responsible for at least 13 different cancers and would be likely to trigger at least 200,000 new cases per year. In total, overweight and obesity are the cause of more than 1.2 million deaths per year, or 13% of deaths in the region.

Covid-19 restrictions have worsened obesity and overweight

According to the latest comprehensive WHO data from 2016, 59% of adults and nearly one in three children (29% of boys and 27% of girls) were overweight in Europe. A up 138% since 1975or just 40% of European adults were overweight.

But the Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly aggravated the situation even further. The multiple restrictions have “resulted in increased exposure to certain risk factors that influence a person’s likelihood of being obese or overweight“, said Hans Kluge. Harmful changes in eating and sports habits have taken place, and must imperatively be reversed, according to the WHO.

To do this and thus fight against this epidemic, the WHO gives several recommendations: tax sugary drinkssubsidizing healthy foods, limiting the marketing of unhealthy foods to children and encourage lifelong physical activity.

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