A significant population in Europe is burdened by obesity and its consequences. According to the study, more than half of adults and a third of children are overweight or obese. The WHO report said that excess body weight causes the deaths of 1.2 million people each year.

Europeans Are Getting Big

The number of overweight and obese people is constantly growing. That is why the WHO calls the situation an epidemic. Excess body fat is the most significant risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases, including heart attack and stroke. But that’s not all, and obesity also plays a crucial role in several types of cancer. The head of the WHO European branch, Hans Kluge, believes that the trend will continue in the coming years.

About a quarter of Europeans are directly obese, with a BMI (body mass index) of 30 and higher. After America, Europeans are in second place in the ranking of big people. If we look back 50 years, to 1975, studies show that 40% of Europeans have had problems with overweight or obesity. Nowadays, the number of people with extra pounds has increased by 138 percent.

The WHO also points out that the overweight problem has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, worsening some unhealthy habits and reducing physical activity. In addition to lack of exercise and unhealthy diets, overweight problems in the population are also related to digitization, sedentary employment, but also to the promotion of calorie foods, and the rise of online entertainment, especially among children.

Sugar Tax?

Lifestyle and obesity are strongly influenced by the environment where we find ourselves and grow up. The digital environment and advertisements for unhealthy fatty foods and sugary drinks successfully target all ages, including children and adolescents.

“It is important to look at this issue from all stages of life,” said Dr. Kremlin Wickramasinghe, Deputy Head of the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases. Unfortunately, there is no single universal workaround in the fight against obesity.

For a European region to succeed, it needs a comprehensive package of interventions. “Restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods for children, taxing sugar-sweetened beverages, and improving the health system’s response to obesity are currently among the most actively discussed policy areas in the WHO European Region,” added Dr. Wickramasinghe.

Source and credit: https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/obesity/publications/2022/who-european-regional-obesity-report-2022, unsplash.com, pixabay.com