Global Obesity Rates Double Since 1990: WHO Report

Global Obesity Rates Double Since 1990: WHO Report Sparks Urgency for Multifaceted Interventions.

A recent report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed alarming statistics regarding the global prevalence of obesity. The study, published in The Lancet, indicates that one in eight individuals worldwide is now living with obesity, marking a significant increase since 1990.

According to the report, more than 1 billion people across the globe are grappling with obesity, a condition that has more than doubled among adults and quadrupled among children and adolescents aged 5 to 19 since 1990. Additionally, the data underscores a troubling trend wherein 43% of adults were categorized as overweight in 2022.

The findings shed light on the complex landscape of malnutrition, encompassing undernutrition as well as overweight and obesity. While undernutrition remains a pressing issue in regions such as South-East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, obesity poses a growing threat, contributing to noncommunicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, emphasized the critical importance of early prevention and management of obesity through lifestyle interventions such as diet and physical activity. He stressed the necessity of collaborative efforts involving governments, communities, and the private sector to address the global obesity crisis effectively.

In response to the escalating rates of obesity, WHO introduced the Acceleration plan to halt obesity at the 2022 World Health Assembly. This initiative aims to support country-level actions through 2030, with 31 governments already spearheading efforts to implement the plan.

The core interventions outlined in the plan include promoting healthy practices from infancy, regulating the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children, implementing school food and nutrition policies, and introducing fiscal policies to encourage healthy diets.

Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Nutrition and Food Safety Department, stressed the need for concerted efforts to ensure affordable access to healthy diets and create environments conducive to physical activity and overall well-being. He emphasized the importance of integrating obesity prevention and management services into primary healthcare systems.

Addressing undernutrition calls for multifaceted action across sectors such as agriculture, social protection, and health to mitigate food insecurity, improve access to clean water and sanitation, and ensure universal access to essential nutrition interventions.

As the global community grapples with the dual challenges of undernutrition and obesity, WHO underscores the urgency of implementing evidence-based policies and interventions to safeguard public health and promote healthier lifestyles worldwide.

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