Half of humanity will be overweight by 2035 – report
Over half – 51% – of the world’s population will be overweight or obese by 2035 if humanity doesn’t bring its waistlines under control, the World Obesity Federation has warned in its latest report, published Thursday. While 2.6 billion people already fall into the category, the number is projected to surpass four billion in just eleven years if steps are not taken immediately to tackle this issue.
The World Obesity Atlas report calls for the imposition of taxes and limits on production of “unhealthy” food, as well as marketing restrictions for high-fat, high-salt and high-sugar products. Schools in particular should be required to serve healthy food, the Federation insists, as obesity is rising fastest among children and teens.
In fact, the obesity rate among boys under 18 is predicted to rise by a whopping 100%. Among girls the same age, a 125% increase is expected. This will leave a total of 383 million under-18s globally at risk of the many health problems that come with carrying excess weight – more than twice as many as are currently classified as overweight or obese.
The report warns that nine of the ten countries facing the sharpest rise in obesity are poor or middle-income nations in Asia and Africa, ill-equipped to deal with the problem, including Central African Republic, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and Somalia.
Rising obesity rates will lead to more than just decreased lifespans and an increased healthcare burden, the Federation claims, warning that the global cost of surging obesity rates is expected to grow to $4.3 trillion by 2035, or the equivalent of 3% of global GDP. This figure is roughly equivalent to the economic damage caused by government responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to the widespread availability and affordability of unhealthy processed foods, the Federation blames climate change, Covid-19 policies, “new pandemics,” and chemical pollutants for the world’s growing waistlines, urging governments to develop “comprehensive national action plans” to prevent catastrophic corpulence – like the World Health Organization’s Recommendations for the Prevention and Management of Obesity.
Forcing the obese to shoulder responsibility for their condition was not on the agenda, however. The report notes that “acknowledgement of the economic impact is in no way a reflection of blame on people living with obesity,” describing the condition as “a chronic, relapsing disease.”