UN: Obesity levels in Europe at ‘epidemic proportions’

London, May 4 (BUS): Rates of people suffering from obesity and overweight in Europe have reached “epidemic proportions”, with nearly 60% of adults and a third of children in one of these categories, the World Health Organization said.


In a report released Tuesday, The Associated Press (AP) reported that the prevalence of obesity among adults is higher across the continent than any other region in the world — with the exception of the Americas.


“Alarmingly, there have been persistent increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the WHO European Region and no Member State is on track to reach the target of halting the rise in obesity by 2025,” the report said. Among the countries it counts in the Europe region, the World Health Organization said the highest rates of obesity were seen in Turkey, Malta, Israel and Britain.


The World Health Organization has said that being overweight or obese is among the leading causes of death in the region and is responsible for more than one million deaths each year.


Scientists have long warned that heavy weight significantly increases the risk of many diseases, including respiratory diseases, diabetes, and at least 13 types of cancer. It is also the main risk factor for disability.


“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed the true impact of the obesity epidemic,” WHO Director for Europe Dr Hans Kluge wrote in the report. He noted that obese people were “more likely to experience severe outcomes from the COVID-19 disease spectrum, including ICU admission and death.”

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Kluge also said that COVID-19 interventions such as school closures and closures often increase the risk of weight gain when people switch to unhealthy diets and are forced to be sedentary.


The World Health Organization has called on countries to adopt policies to improve the “environmental factors” associated with obesity, including taxing sweetened drinks, restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods to children, and efforts to improve physical activity.


In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 74% of Americans over the age of 20 are obese or overweight.


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