World surpasses the mark of 1 billion obese people

The World Health Organization (WHO) released this Friday (1) a study with worrying data on obesity. According to the organization, 1 in 8 people in the world is well overweight.

The research was carried out with the contribution of more than 1500 scientists, who participate in the so-called NCD Risk Factor Collaboration. In total numbers, this ratio of 1 to 8 means that obesity affects more than 1 billion people on the planet.

The scientific article, published in The Lancet magazine, analyzed data relating to the body mass index (BMI) of millions of people over 5 years of age in 190 different countries. Remembering that BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight (in kilograms) by their height squared (in meters).

The idea of ​​the study was to compare the current situation (in 2022, in this case) with the numbers from 1990. The work shows that, in the adult population, the obesity rate more than doubled among women and almost tripled among men during this period. In total, 879 million adults could be considered obese in 2022 – a 350% jump compared to 1990.

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Things become even more worrying when we consider children and adolescents. From 1990 to 2022, obesity rates grew four times in this portion of the population. In 2022, 159 million children and adolescents were obese – 303% more than in 1990.

Francesco Branca, Director of Nutrition at WHO, said the increase to more than a billion people occurred earlier than we anticipated.” He expected this to happen in 2030 only.

Is obesity a disease?

  • Many people still think not, but the WHO and other health-related entities classify the condition as an illness.
  • More than that: they state that obesity is a risk factor for a series of even more serious diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, fatty liver, heart problems and even some types of cancer.
  • In a statement, the director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom, called on governments and civil society to come together to face this situation.
  • According to him, combating obesity requires state work, supported by public health policies, in addition to cooperation from the private sector, responsible for the impact that its products have on health.

“This new study highlights the importance of preventing and managing obesity from early childhood through adulthood through appropriate nutrition, physical activity and care as needed.”said the director general of the WHO.

  • Remembering that, in most cases, the treatment of obesity must include the adoption of healthy habits, a balanced diet and regular physical activity.
  • The WHO itself has already defended the adoption of a series of measures to try to change the current situation.
  • These include taxes on sugary drinks, governments limiting the marketing of unhealthy foods to children, and increasing subsidies for healthy foods.
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World Obesity Day

World Obesity Day occurs every year on March 4th, next Monday.

Here in the country, the Brazilian Association for the Study of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome (ABESO) and the Brazilian Society of Endocrinology and Metabology (SBEM) are taking care of the event.

According to the entities, this is not a date for celebration, but rather to raise awareness about the disease.

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Among the main topics that should be addressed are: recognizing the condition as a health issue, reducing prejudice surrounding these people, understanding the causes of obesity and reinforcing the relevance of appropriate treatment for the population.

The information is from Science Alert.

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