Europe will face a real obesity epidemic between now and 2030, says the World Health Organisation (WHO). This is according to predictions unveiled on Wednesday, during a European conference on obesity in Prague. “Europe will be confronted with a huge crisis”, says the WHO. This study claims that nearly all the adult Irish population will be overweight or obese before 2030, according to a press release by the conference organisers. 89% of men in Ireland “will probably’ be overweight by 2030, 48% of who will be obese. This is compared to 74% and 26% respectively in 2010.
The proportion of overweight Irish women is predicted to go from 57% to 85% between 2010 and 2030 (57% obese in 2030).
A person is considered overweight when their Body Mass Index (BMI, which is the ratio between weight and height) is above 25kg/m². They are considered obese when their BMI is above 30.
The predictions for Great Britain are also relatively alarming, with 33% of women expected to be obese in 2030, compared to 26% in 2010. For men, the prediction is 36% in 2030, compared to 26% in 2010.
They study says Greece, Spain, Sweden, Australia and the Czech Republic will also see a large increase in the number of obese adults.
According to the study, only a few countries will see their obesity rate stabilise or fall. This is the case for the Netherlands, where 8% of men are expected to be obese in 2030, compared to 10% in 2010.
The authors of the study say the predictions must be interpreted “with the most extreme caution”.
For Briton Laura Webber, one of the authors, it nevertheless shows “the worrying increase in obesity in Europe. We urgently need policies to reverse this trend”, she said.
According to the WHO, more than 1.9 billion adults in the world were overweight in 2014, more than 600 million of who were obese. The rate of obesity more than doubled worldwide between 1980 and 2014.