Overweight and obesity pose a growing threat to population health in an increasing number of countries. In fact, they are now so common that they are replacing more traditional problems such as malnutrition and infectious diseases as the most important causes of ill health. Comorbidities of obesity include coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke, certain cancers, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, gallbladder disease, dyslipidaemia, osteoarthritis and gout, and lung diseases including sleep apnoea. In addition, obese people suffer from social prejudice and discrimination, not only from the general public but also from health professionals, which can make them reluctant to seek medical care.
WHO therefore convened a Consultation on Obesity to review current epidemiological information, contributing factors and associated consequences, and this report presents its findings and recommendations. In particular, the Consultation examined the body mass index-based classification system for overweight and obesity, and concluded that a consistent system is now available and should be adopted internationally. The Consultation also concluded that the root causes of the obesity epidemic are sedentary lifestyles and energy-dense, high-fat diets, both of which are the result of profound changes in society and in the behavioural patterns of communities as a result of increasing urbanisation and industrialisation and the breakdown of traditional lifestyles. To minimise energy imbalance and weight gain in sedentary individuals, it is necessary to reduce fat intake to 20-25% of energy.
Although there is strong evidence that certain genes influence body mass and body fat, most are not considered necessary genes, i.e. genes that cause obesity as long as there are two copies of the defective allele; it is likely to be many years before the results of genetic research can be applied to the problem. Methods for the treatment of obesity are described, including dietary management, physical activity and exercise, and anti-obesity drugs, with gastrointestinal surgery reserved for extreme cases. The adult obesity rate is over 40%, the highest ever recorded.
COVID-19-related food insecurity puts more Americans at risk of becoming obese or worsening their obesity. Currently, more than one in two adults and nearly one in six children are overweight or obese in the OECD area. The obesity epidemic has become more widespread over the past five years, albeit at a slower pace than before. Despite this, new projections show a continued rise in obesity in all countries studied.
Social disparities in obesity persist and have increased in some countries. OECD countries show an almost tenfold variation in obesity and overweight rates. Current Obesity Reports provides in-depth review articles by international experts on the most significant developments in the field. Obesity prevalence maps Prevalence of obesity in adults by state and territory using self-reported information from the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System.
The World Health Assembly welcomed the report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (201) and its 6 recommendations to address the obesogenic environment and critical periods in the life course to tackle childhood obesity.