According to projections by the World Health Organisation and a UK based researcher, 74% of men and 64% of women in the UK will be overweight by 2030. But believe it or not, Britain will be one of the thinnest European nations.
Ireland has the biggest problem, with projections saying that 89% of men and 85% of women will be overweight or obese by the same year. Other countries facing growing obesity problems include Greece, Spain, Austria and the Czech Republic. Even Sweden, well known for its low prevalence of obesity, is expected to see a significant rise. Basically, everyone is getting fatter.
The Netherlands are the rare exception, where obesity is actually expected to fall. In 2010, 54% of Dutch men were overweight, including 10% who were obese. These figures are expected to drop to 49% and 8% respectively. For women, the 2030 figures will be 43% and 9%, compared to 44% and 13% in 2010.
The study compiled data from 57 different countries, however the researchers are reluctant to put the numbers into a league table due to the varying quality of data.
João Breda, from the World Health Organisation’s regional office in Copenhagen, explained:
Although this was a forecasting exercise, and therefore data needs to be taken with extreme caution, it conveys two strong messages – first that the availability and quality of the data in countries needs to be improved and second that these predictions show more needs to be done in terms of preventing and tackling obesity.
An individual is considered “overweight” when their Body Mass Index (BMI) – a measure covering height and weight – is between 25 and 29.9. A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese. For the study, the overweight category includes obese people.