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There is a silent epidemic in Europe that affects almost 60% of the population, the WHO warns


In Europe, obesity is at a worrying rate, even among the youngest. According to the WHO, this is an epidemic to be fought as soon as possible, because it causes 1.2 million deaths each year.

It is alarm obese in Europe. In the former continent the situation is no better than in the United States. This was revealed by the new report just published by the World Health Organization (WHO), which confirms that the obesity rate has reached “epidemic proportions”.

On European territory, about 60% of adults are in overweight o Obese: the highest levels are recorded among men (63%), while the number of women with weight problems is slightly lower (54%). But the worrying phenomenon affects little ones: in fact, almost 1 in 3 children living in Europe is obese or overweight. All this has serious consequences for the health of the European population which should not be overlooked.

“Increasing body mass index is a major risk factor for diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease,” said WHO Director-General for Europe Hans Kluge.

According to the WHO, overweight and obesity are a major cause of disability more than 1.2 million people die each year, equal to 13% of deaths on the continent. A number that makes your skin pull and invites serious reflection.

The situation in Italy

But which country has the highest obesity rate and is overweight? According to the WHO, it is the neighboring nations that cause the most concern on the Mediterranean and those in Eastern Europe.

Inequality in education is widespread, with a higher prevalence of obesity in people with a lower level of education – according to it – In addition, the gender analysis shows that in the European region inequality in the levels is too high and obesity between men and women is widespread. and heterogeneous and linked to socio-economic factors such as income, education, employment and place of residence.

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© WHO

How are you in Italy? In our nation, among adults, the rate of obesity and overweight is 65.3% for men and 51% for women and is in line with the European average. While the situation regarding children is decidedly more disturbing: minors aged 5 to 9 who are obese or overweight are about 42% (44.7 males and 39.2 females). And this is a sad record in the Old Continent, where the average is around 29%. As for obesity, the percentage among the youngest is 17%, an alarming figure that we share with the Greek population.

Obesity is one of the leading causes of death in Europe

As anticipated, overweight and obesity are in fourth place as a risk factor for death, after high blood pressure, food and tobacco risk. And, according to the WHO, in the coming decades it could even exceed smoking as the main risk factor for cancer. As clarified in the report, this condition is associated with 13 different types of cancer and must be treated and managed urgently.

The report also focuses on the risks of obesity in Covid-19 patients. The outbreak of the pandemic, in fact, has made the problem of obesity even more serious.

Obese people are more likely to have complications and deaths from the virus, and many of these patients have experienced disruptions in access to obesity management services. Preliminary data also suggest that during the current pandemic, people were more exposed to risk factors for obesity, including a sedentary lifestyle and eating unhealthy foods.

WHO recommendations to combat obesity

To protect the European population and reduce the risk of developing serious diseases, obesity must fight with targeted strategies, encouraging people to change their lifestyle and eat healthier foods.

Obesity is influenced by the environment, so it is important to look at this issue from the perspective of every step of life. For example, the lives of children and adolescents are influenced by the digital environment, including the marketing of unhealthy food and drink – comments Dr. Kremlin Wickramasinghe, acting head of the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, one of the authors of the Report Obesity 2022. – We have learned over time that one policy will not work. To be successful as a country or region, we need a comprehensive package of interventions. Not a single country could present all these policies at the same time. It is important for priority 2 or 3 policies to be implemented now and have a viable plan for introducing the rest of the interventions.

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Source: WHO

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