Home Fitness Obesity causes cancer and is major determinant of disability and death, warns new WHO report

Obesity causes cancer and is major determinant of disability and death, warns new WHO report

Obesity causes cancer and is major determinant of disability and death, warns new WHO report

warns obesity is a major cause of cancer, disability, and death.

Nearly two-thirds of European Region adults, as well as 1 in 3, are obese or overweight. These rates continue to rise. New WHO European Regional Obesity Report 2022 highlights the grave health consequences of increasing obesity. Obesity ranks among the leading causes of disability and death in the Region. It is also a major cause of various types of cancer and must be managed and treated by multidisciplinary teams.

“Obesity is not bound by borders. “No single country in Europe or Central Asia will be able to achieve the WHO Global NCD goal of stopping the increase of obesity,” stated Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge WHO Regional Director Europe. Although the countries of our Region have a wide range of characteristics, each one faces challenges to some extent. By creating environments that are more enabling, promoting investment and innovation in health, and developing strong and resilient health systems, we can change the trajectory of obesity in the Region.”

Obesity might overtake smoking as the main risk for preventable cancer

Overweight and obesity rank fourth as a risk factor for death, after high blood pressure, dietary risks and tobacco. The risk of obesity is multifactorial and complex. This condition is linked to many other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

In some European Region countries, obesity is expected to overtake smoking in the next decade as the leading risk factor for preventable diseases like cancer. The report emphasizes that obesity is not a disease but a serious condition that must be addressed and managed.

WHO European Region: obesity and overweight trends

According to the report, obesity prevalence for adults in the European Region is higher than in any other WHO region except the Region of the Americas. Although the latest statistics show that obesity and overweight are responsible for over 1.3 million deaths each year worldwide, these figures may not be accurate.

In the European Region obesity and overweight have become epidemic levels. The prevalence rates are higher for males (63%) compared to females (54%).. Higher income countries tend to have higher rates.

The countries with the highest rates of obesity and overweight are those in eastern and Mediterranean Europe. There are many educational inequalities, and higher rates of obesity in those with less education.

COVID-19 and the obesity problem

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the obesity problem even more pressing. Obese patients are at greater risk of complications or death due to the virus. Many have also experienced difficulties accessing services for managing their obesity.

Preliminary evidence suggests that people were more likely to be exposed to risk factors for obesity during this pandemic. This includes a rise in unhealthy eating habits and sedentary living.

Creating healthy environments: WHO policy recommendations

“Obesity is influenced by the environment, so it is important to look at this problem from the perspective of every stage of life. Digital environments can have a negative impact on the lives of adolescents and children, for example. This is according to Dr Kremlin Wickramasinghe (Acting Head of the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of NCDs), who produced the WHO European Regional Obesity Report 2022..

” We have seen that one policy does not work. We need to have a complete package of interventions in order for a country, or region, to succeed. It has not been possible for any one country to implement all of these policies simultaneously. Dr Wickramasinghe said that it is crucial to prioritize 2 to 3 policies now, and to have a plan for introducing the remaining interventions. “Restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods to children, taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages and improving health system response for obesity management are currently among the most actively discussed policy areas in the WHO European Region.”


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