The European Congress on Obesity took place today in Prague, Czech Republic. The projections of the WHO Modelling Obesity Project were made public in the presence of representatives of the scientific team comprised of the UK Health Forum in London and the WHO Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen.
In an effort to understand the impact of obesity and overweight on the future of the European population, 53 countries included in the World Health Organization European region pooled their data for examination. Looking at the body mass index (BMI) which is calculated by dividing weight expressed in kilograms by the square of height in meters, the scientists compared overweight proportions to obesity proportions for both men and women.
The comparison was made between 2010 available data and 2030 models. The projections that resulted are somewhat gloomy. At the same time, they stress need for better public campaigns, better policy coordination and more implication from public health authorities.
Therefore, while comparing the BMI for overweight and obesity (25kg per square meter, respectively 30kg per square meter), it was indicated that Europe is on the fast track for an obesity surge by 2030. The most affected countries will be Ireland, the UK, Spain, Sweden, Austria and the Czech Republic.
Dr. Joao Breda on behalf of the WHO Regional European office stated that:
“Although this was a forecasting exercise, and therefore the data need to be interpreted with extreme caution, it conveys two strong messages—first that the availability and quality of the data in countries needs to be improved, and second these predictions show that more needs to be done in terms of preventing and tackling overweight and obesity”.
Among those who fared best in the modeling was the Netherlands where the trend is a decrease in the number of obesity cases. While in 2010 the percentages showed 54 percent of men to be overweight and 10 percent to be obese, it was calculated that by 2030 only 49 percent will be overweight, with just 8 percent obese. In the case of women, the decrease in overweight cases will be of only 1 percent, from 44 to 43. The cases of obesity in women are set to decrease 4 percent, from 13 to 9.
At the opposite side of the table, the majority of the Irish adult population is projected to be overweight. The percentage of Irish men who are likely to be overweight increases from 74 percent to 89 percent, with the percentage of obesity also increasing from 26 percent to 48 percent. For women, the 2010 numbers showed 57 percent to be overweight and 23 percent to be obese. These percentages will increase to 85, respectively 57 percent.
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