The World Health Organisation and UK Health Forum project that ‘almost all adults’ will be overweight within the next 15 years
Europe’s growing obesity crisis will see almost three-quarters of men and two-thirds of women in the UK being classed as overweight by 2030, health experts have warned.
The World Health Organisation and UK-based researchers have predicted a problem “of enormous proportions” facing Europe over the next 15 years and have suggested that recent campaigns to improve diets and reduce fat intake are not having enough of an impact.
The findings show that the UK will remain in the top third of European nations, in terms of rates of people overweight and obese, with 74% of men and 64% of women predicted to be overweight by 2030 (that’s a body mass index – or BMI – of more than 25) and 36% of men and 30% of women obese (with a BMI over 30).
Dr Laura Webber, director of public health modelling at the UK Health Forum and co-author of the study which will be presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Prague, said: “There was some evidence of a plateau in young boys’ obesity levels in England but otherwise we are seeing increasing rates.
“There needs to be a whole-society approach to this … People also need to know what they’re eating. Better labelling of foods and understanding what goes into processed foods is vital, as are continued reformulations of processed foods.”
However, Ireland is predicted to have greater problems, with overweight or obese rates said to rise as high as 89% among men and 85% of women.
Other countries facing growing obesity problems include Greece, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic and Sweden.
Being overweight is defined as having a BMI of between 25 and 29.9, and obese a BMI of 30 and above. You can find the WHO's healthy eating guidelines here.