According to new global projections, by 2030 more than one billion people worldwide will be obese, which is twice as many as in 2010.
No country is on track to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of eliminating obesity by 2025, with one in five women and one in seven men reaching it by 2030.
Obesity has increased most rapidly in low- and middle-income countries. Over the next eight years, the number of obese people in low-income countries is expected to triple compared to 2010.
The new figures come from the fourth World Atlas of Obesity, released on Friday and prepared by the World Obesity Federation. Its chief executive, Johanna Ralston, said political and health leaders should recognize the gravity of the situation and act.
“The figures in our report are shocking, but what is even more shocking is how inadequate our response has been. Everyone has a fundamental right to prevention, treatment and access to appropriate care. Now is the time to take concrete, decisive and people-centred action to reverse the obesity trend.”he said.
The highest obesity rates are found in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. Nearly half (47%) of people in the United States will be obese by 2030.
Although obesity rates in the region are expected to increase by 50% between 2010 and 2030, the number is expected to triple in Africa, which affects more women than men.
The WHO estimates that 74 million women in Africa will be living with obesity in 2030, up from 26 million in 2010 and 27 million men in 2030, up from 8 million in 2010.
According to the report, in South Africa, half of women are expected to be obese by 2030, and in Algeria nearly a third are men (30%).
Nearly a quarter (22%) of non-communicable disease deaths in Africa are due to being overweight. The region still faces high rates of malnutrition.
Last month, the World Food Program warned that some 13 million people were starving every day in the Horn of Africa as the region grapples with a major drought.
The Global Obesity Atlas also ranks countries based on their preparedness for obesity, including their health systems.
The most prepared are high-income countries, while the least prepared are all low-middle-income and low-income countries, adding to concerns about the impact of obesity on already vulnerable populations.
More than 150 health experts and advocates have written to health ministers calling for an international action plan to tackle obesity.
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