New figures from the World Obesity Federation suggest that if current trends continue, 2.7 billion adults worldwide will be overweight by 2025 (1). This is an increase from 2.0 billion in 2014. Furthermore, current trends suggest 177 million adults will be severely obese by 2025 and in need of treatment (2).
Global estimates: Percentage of adults above healthy weights 2010 2014 2025
Overweight (including obese) 36 39 46
Obese (including severely obese)11 1317
Severely obese 1.4 1.9 3.0
In 2012 governments all around the world made a commitment to bring down the prevalence of overweight and obesity to 2010 levels by the year 2025. The World Obesity Federation is using World Obesity Day, 11 October, to remind governments of their commitment and to call for urgent action by governments.
The President of the World Obesity Federation, Professor Walmir Coutinho, said “The obesity epidemic has reached virtually every country worldwide, and overweight and obesity levels are set to continue to rise. Governments know the present epidemic is unsustainable and doing nothing is not an option. They have agreed to tackle obesity and to bring down obesity prevalence to 2010 levels by the year 2025. If governments hope to achieve the WHO target of keeping obesity at 2010 levels, then the time to act is now.”
In the last 10 years, consumption of sugary drinks worldwide increased by a third (33%) (3). More than half of the world’s population now live in urban environments (4), while 1 in 4 adults and 4 in 5 young people aged 11-17 fail to get sufficient physical activity (5).
Dr Tim Lobstein, Director of Policy at the World Obesity Federation added “Common risk factors such as soft drink consumption and sedentary working environments, have increased, fast food advertising continues and greater numbers of people live in urban environments without access to green spaces. Governments have accepted the need for regulatory measures such as market controls, taxes and subsidies, setting standards for catering services and investment in healthy schools – but few governments are implementing these measures.”
He went on to say “Governments should take a number of actions to help prevent obesity, including introducing tough regulations to protect children from the marketing of unhealthy food, ensuring, schools promote healthy eating, strengthening planning and building rules to ensure safe neighbourhoods, encouraging workplaces to offer and promote healthy food choices and physical activity and introducing taxes and subsidies to make healthier food cheaper and unhealthy food more expensive.”
The World Obesity Federation is also urging health ministries to introduce and expand screening, weight-loss, weight-management and treatment services to meet the needs of all people who are already overweight or obese.
“We need to improve the delivery of weight management and treatment services to ensure access for every person who needs them. Medical services will need funding, staff will need training, and proper care pathways developed to ensure everyone has access to the care they need” said Professor Coutinho.
1. Numbers of overweight adults (thousands) in 2014 and predicted for 2025.
Overweight = BMI >25kg/m2. Estimates produced using World Health Organization and World Obesity Federation figures
2. Numbers of severely obese adults (thousands) in 2014 and predicted for 2025. Severe obesity = BMI >35kg/m2. Estimates produced using World Health Organization and World Obesity Federation figures
3. Soft drinks consumption. 330ml/12oz servings per person (2014) and percentage change from 2004. Sources: Euromonitor Passport and World Obesity Federation
4. Percentage of Population Residing in Urban Areas. Sources: UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and World Obesity Federation
5. Proportion of the population who are insufficiently active. Sources: World Health Organization and World Obesity Federation