Over half the world’s population will be categorised as obese or overweight by 2035, according to a report set to be presented to the UN on Monday (March 6). The trend could affect more than four billion people if action is not taken.
The report - conducted by the World Obesity Federation - found rates of obesity are rising significantly amongst children and teenagers and are on track to double from 2020 levels. The economic impact on the world is also highlighted by the report, predicting the consequential cost of obesity to over $4tn (£3.3tn) annually by 2035.
President of World Obesity Federation, Professor Louise Baur, warned ‘governments and policymakers around the world’ must take action now to ‘avoid passing health, social, and economic costs on to the younger generation’.
The research shows that low or lower-middle income states in Africa and Asia will see the biggest increase in obesity as globalisation spurs a demand for highly processed foods. Sedentary behaviour has also been highlighted as a driving force behind the trend, along with under-funded and less accessible healthcare.
The federations report has calculated the trend using body mass index (BMI). However, emerging research has shown BMI is a poor indicator of body fat percentage and lifestyle, and doesn’t differentiate between excess fat, muscle mass or bone mass.