More than 51% of the world’s population will be overweight by 2035 – report


More than half of the world’s population will be overweight or obese by 2035 without significant action, according to a new report.

The World Obesity Federation’s 2023 atlas predicts that 51% of the world’s population, or more than 4 billion people, will be obese or overweight within the next 12 years.

According to the report, obesity rates are rising particularly rapidly among children and in low-income countries.

Describing the data as a “clear warning”, Louise Baur, president of the World Obesity Federation, said policymakers must act now to prevent the situation from getting worse.

“It is particularly worrying to see obesity rates rising most rapidly among children and adolescents,” she said in a statement.

“Governments and policymakers around the world must do all they can to avoid passing on the health, social and economic costs to the younger generation.”

The report found childhood obesity could more than double from 2020 levels, to 208 million boys and 175 million girls by 2035.

The cost to society is significant due to the health problems associated with being overweight, the federation said: more than $4 trillion per year by 2035, or 3% of global GDP.

However, the authors said they did not blame individuals, but called for a focus on the societal, environmental and biological factors involved in the conditions.

The report uses body mass index (BMI) for its ratings, a number calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared. According to World Health Organization guidelines, a BMI score above 25 is overweight and above 30 is obese.

In 2020, 2.6 billion people belonged to these categories, or 38% of the world’s population.

The report also revealed that almost all of the countries expected to experience the biggest increases in obesity in the coming years are low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa.

The data will be presented to UN policymakers and member states next week.

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