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At least one in eight people are now obese

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This represents a billion people living with the disease in 2022, a number which has doubled among adults and quadrupled among 5 to 19 year olds since 1990, according to data from the study published in The Lancet, a famous company based in United Kingdom. medical journal.

“This new study highlights the importance of preventing and managing obesity from an early age through adulthood through diet, physical activity and adequate careas needed,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, who contributed to the study.

Global goals to combat obesity

A complex chronic illnessObesity has become a crisis, reaching epidemic proportions that reflect a sharp increase in recent decades.

Even though the causes are well understood, as are the evidence-based interventions needed to contain the crisis, the problem is that they are not being implemented, according to the United Nations health agency.

“Getting back on track to meet global obesity targets will require the work of governments and communities, supported by evidence-based policies from WHO and national public health agencies,” the UN health chief said.

This also requires the cooperation of the private sector, which must be responsible for the health impacts of its products, he added.

The study data also showed that 43 percent of adults were overweight in 2022.

Deadly consequences

In Europe, overweight and obesity are among the problems leading causes of death and disabilitywith estimates suggesting they cause more than 1.2 million deaths per year, according to the WHO regional office.

Obesity increases the risk of many noncommunicable diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases. Overweight people and those living with obesity have been disproportionately affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, often experiencing more severe illness and other complications, the UN health agency said .

It is considered to be the cause of at least 13 different types of cancer, potentially directly responsible for at least 200,000 new cases of cancer per year in Europe, according to the WHO.

  • Promote mental health and well-being and strengthen drug prevention and treatment
  • Reduce the number of deaths and illnesses due to pollution, contamination and tobacco
  • Achieve universal health coverage and provide access to essential and affordable vaccines and medicines
  • Reduce the global maternal mortality rate to less than 70 per 100,000 live births and the under-five mortality rate to at least 25 per 1,000 live births
  • End the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and combat hepatitis and other communicable diseases

Sustainable development is based on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages.

The challenges of undernutrition

Malnutrition, in all its forms, includes obesity, lack of vitamins or minerals and being overweight. This also includes undernutrition, which covers wasting, stunting and underweight (or thinness) and is responsible for half of the deaths of children under five.

The study showed that even if the undernutrition rates have fallenit is still a public health challenge in many places, including Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The countries with the highest combined rates of underweight, or thinness, and obesity in 2022 were island nations in the Pacific and Caribbean and those in the Middle East and North Africa.

The WHO acceleration plan

At the World Health Assembly in 2022, Member States adopted the WHO Acceleration Plan to End Obesity, which supports action at the national level until 2030.

Nowadays, 31 governments are now leading the way in the fight against obesity the epidemic by implementing the plan.

Some of the ways they do this include basic interventions such as promotion of breastfeeding And regulations on harmful marketing of food and drinks for children.

Healthy eating for everyone

A healthy diet can prevent obesity.

A healthy diet can prevent obesity.

One of the study’s co-authors, Dr Francesco Branca, director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, said there are “significant challenges” in implementing policies aimed at to ensure affordable access to healthy food for all and to create environments conducive to healthy eating. physical activity and overall healthy lifestyles.

“Countries should also ensure that health systems integrate obesity prevention and management across all basic services,” he said.

Combating undernutrition requires action in the agriculture, social protection and health sectors to reduce food insecurity, improve access to drinking water and sanitation and ensure universal access to essential nutritional interventions, according to the United Nations health agency.

The new study used data from 200 countries and territories, including 3,663 population-based studies with 222 million participants. WHO contributed to the collection and analysis of the study data and disseminated the full data set through its Global Health Observatory.

How is obesity measured?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has guidelines. Obesity is diagnosed by measuring a person’s weight and height and calculating the body mass index (BMI). Here is more information on the guidelines:

  • BMI is a surrogate marker of obesity and additional measurements, such as waist circumference, can aid in the diagnosis of obesity.
  • BMI categories to define obesity vary by age and sex in infants, children, and adolescents.
  • The calculation formula is weight (kg)/height² (m²).
  • For adults, the WHO defines obesity as having a BMI of 30 or more.
  • For children under five years of age, obesity is defined as a weight-for-height ratio three standard deviations above the median of the WHO child growth standards.
  • For children aged five to 19, obesity is two standard deviations higher than the WHO growth reference median.

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