WHO warns that obesity causes 1.2 million deaths in Europe every year


childhood obesity

One in three school-age children, one in four adolescents and almost 60% of the adult population in Europe are currently overweight or obese, according to the WHO.

(9-6-2022). Obesity is the leading cause of death for 1.2 million Europeans each year. This is the main conclusion of the WHO regional report on Obesity, which warns of a “structural” problem that will not be solved with “individual actions”.

One in three school-age children, one in four adolescents and nearly 60% of the adult population in Europe are currently overweight or obese. It is one of the conclusions drawn from the Regional Report on Obesity 2022 carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO), which also highlights that obesity causes 1.2 million deaths each year in Europe.

Risk factor’s

The pandemic, which contributed to the general drop in physical activity levels in the last two and a half years, together with a greater consumption of fatty, sugary and salty foods, are two of the factors that explain how the current levels of obesity in the population. Although, from the WHO, they warn that they are not the only ones and that “the cause is much deeper in society.”

In this regard, the study takes a closer look at how our modern environment drives the obesity epidemic by examining the relationships between food and physical activity, and the sociocultural, physical, economic, and political factors that influence the foods populations consume. along with your activity level. Online gaming and digital marketing of unhealthy food products stand out as problem areas.

Obesity and diseases

Obesity is linked to at least 13 types of cancer, including breast, liver and ovarian cancers, and Dr. Nina Berdzuli, director of the division of national health programs at WHO Europe, emphasized the importance of promoting lifestyles healthy and increase physical activity levels.

According to the report’s findings, there is undeniable evidence that early adoption of good nutrition and physical activity is essential to improving the future of global health.

Dr. Francesco Branca, director of the department of nutrition for health and development, believes that WHO’s Sustainable Development Goal 2 (‘Achieve Zero Hunger’ and ‘Improve Nutrition’) and Sustainable Development Goal 3 (‘Ensuring healthy lifestyles’ and ‘Promoting well-being’) will not be achieved if society continues down the same path.

Possible interventions

For adolescents, the data showed that less than 20% follow the recommendations for physical activity and almost 50% do not eat fruits or vegetables. The report acknowledges that no single “intervention” could reduce the spread of obesity, but outlines a range of interventions and potential policy areas that could reduce obesity levels through diet, education and physical activity targets.

Recommendations for physical activity include the provision of physical activity counseling and referral as part of health care services, safe access to open spaces, and the promotion of physical activity through sports groups and clubs.

The quality of physical education, facilities and programs in schools and the availability of physical activity schemes in the workplace were highlighted.

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