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LifestyleGlobal adult obesity set to exceed 1.53bn by 2035 - Report

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Global adult obesity set to exceed 1.53bn by 2035 – Report

The World Obesity Federation, in its latest World Obesity Atlas report, highlights the alarming surge in obesity rates among children and adolescents worldwide, urging immediate preventive actions to secure healthier future generations.

Rising obesity rates globally underscore significant disparities in healthcare and nutrition, disproportionately affecting the most economically disadvantaged populations.

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According to statistics from the Atlas, 79% of adults classified as overweight or obese will reside in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) by 2035, with 88% of overweight and obese children also expected to be in LMICs by the same year.

Furthermore, the number of adults living with obesity is projected to escalate from 0.81 billion in 2020 to 1.53 billion by 2035.

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World Obesity Day, observed globally on March 4th, serves as a call to action to address the escalating global obesity crisis. It presents an opportunity for governments worldwide to reaffirm their commitment to combating this pressing issue and striving towards a healthier and more equitable future for all.

The media highlights that the World Obesity Federation stands as the sole global entity exclusively dedicated to addressing obesity.

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This organization unites member bodies committed to tackling obesity-related challenges, comprising professionals from scientific, medical, research, and advocacy spheres across over 90 regional and national obesity associations.

As a leading collaborator with global agencies on obesity, including the World Health Organization, the Federation holds formal consultative status endorsed by the World Health Assembly.

In a statement preceding World Obesity Day, the Federation emphasized, “One of the key findings is that no area of the world is immune from the effects of obesity, and the poorest suffer the most, at ever younger ages.”

“Contrary to public perception, lower-income countries are increasingly leading the way in terms of early disability and death due to obesity and the diseases it is driving, including diabetes and heart disease,”

The Atlas highlighted a direct correlation between greenhouse gas emissions associated with a nation’s progress and the increasing prevalence of obesity, evident in both the Global South and the Global North. This underscores the profound connection between environmental variables and obesity.

Moreover, it presented convincing evidence demonstrating that the absence of obesity management within healthcare systems is fueling the prevalence of major noncommunicable diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.

The Chief Executive Officer of the World Obesity Federation, Johanna Ralston said, “The release of the 2024 Global Atlas highlights the imperative for a paradigm shift in our approach to tackling obesity. We need to stop false tradeoffs between food and health, young and old, developed and developing country, and recognize this is a serious, global challenge that calls for multisectoral solutions and coordinated action,”

The 2024 Atlas emphasizes the role of economic development drivers in shaping obesity patterns.

In terms of global deaths associated with high Body Mass Index, the Atlas reveals that 78% of cases occur among adults in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), surpassing the 22% in high-income nations.

Furthermore, it highlights that 80% of Disability-Adjusted Life Years are linked to high BMI among adults in LMICs, contrasting with only 20% in high-income countries.

“It’s a common misconception that obesity – and its myriad health implications – are only limited to certain countries in the Global North,’ said Director of the Healthier Societies Programme at the George Institute for Global Health, Kent Buse.”

He added, “But the barriers to healthy and affordable foods, to active transport and much-needed medical support, are not limited to what people likely consider to be ‘rich’ countries and governments all over the world need to implement policies that help communities gain access to healthy food and responsive health systems now. The projections in the Global Atlas make very clear what the alternative is and it is a frightening prospect.”

Obesity and planetary health are directly correlated, according to the 2024 Atlas. BMI levels can rise in nations that are experiencing rapid economic growth, and this can have a variety of negative effects on the environment.

WOF President, Louise Baur, observed, “With increasing economic development, we see increased levels of high BMI. We also see a similar correlation between high BMI and GHG emissions, increased urban population, plastic waste usage and insufficient physical activity.

“Furthermore, obesity rates are rising—at a very concerning rate—among children and adolescents globally. Measures targeting this demographic are crucial to ensure healthier future generations.”

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