Obesity in Europe in ‘epidemic proportions’ – POLITICO

The obesity rates in the European region are of “epidemic proportions,” the World Health Organization’s regional office for Europe warns in a report released Tuesday.

The numbers are growing: 59 percent of adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese, and no country in the European region is currently on track to halt the rise in obesity by 2025. Early studies from some countries showed that the prevalence of overweight or obesity increased in children and teens during the pandemic.

In its report, the WHO Europe flagged meal delivery apps as potentially contributing to the obesity problem, saying they could encourage sedentary behavior. The pandemic accelerated the use of these apps as people were advised to stay at home.

The report recommends policies that ensure that restaurants that are required to display nutritional information do so in apps, and that, where appropriate, meal delivery companies are classified as food companies, to be held equally accountable.

Obesity and overweight are responsible for more than 1.2 million deaths across the region each year, the report finds.

“We need the attention of the highest levels of governments,” Kremlin Wickramsinghe, ad interim head of the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, said at a briefing.

Obesity is the cause of at least 13 different cancers and probably directly causes at least 200,000 new cancers in the region each year. In some countries, according to the WHO report, obesity is predicted to overtake smoking as the leading risk factor for preventable cancer in the coming decades.

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