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More than one billion people living with obesity

The total number of children, adolescents and adults worldwide living with obesity has surpassed one billion, according to a global analysis published in The Lancet.

These trends, together with the declining prevalence of people who are underweight since 1990, make obesity the most common form of malnutrition in most countries.

The new analysis of global data estimates that among the world’s children and adolescents, the rate of obesity in 2022 was four times the rate in 1990. Among adults, the obesity rate more than doubled in women and nearly tripled in men. In total, 159 million children and adolescents and 879 million adults were living with obesity in 2022.  

Between 1990 and 2022, the proportion of the world’s children and adolescents who were affected by underweight fell by around one fifth in girls and more than one third in boys. The proportion of the world’s adults who were affected by underweight more than halved over the same period.  

Obesity and underweight are both forms of malnutrition and are detrimental to people’s health in many ways. This latest study provides a highly detailed picture of global trends in both forms of malnutrition over the last 33 years. 

Senior author Professor Majid Ezzati, of Imperial College London, said: “It is very concerning that the epidemic of obesity that was evident among adults in much of the world in 1990 is now mirrored in school-aged children and adolescents. At the same time, hundreds of millions are still affected by undernutrition, particularly in some of the poorest parts of the world. To successfully tackle both forms of malnutrition it is vital we significantly improve the availability and affordability of healthy, nutritious foods.”  

The new study was conducted by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 1,500 researchers contributed to the study, which looked at body mass index (BMI) to understand how obesity and underweight have changed worldwide from 1990 to 2022.  

“This new study highlights the importance of preventing and managing obesity from early life to adulthood, through diet, physical activity, and adequate care, as needed,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Getting back on track to meet the global targets for curbing obesity will take the work of governments and communities, supported by evidence-based policies from WHO and national public health agencies. Importantly, it requires the cooperation of the private sector, which must be accountable for the health impacts of their products.” 

Responding to the study, Professor Simon Kenny, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Children and Young People, said: “These figures will be as alarming to parents as they are to the NHS – obesity affects every human organ system, and so at a young age can have a major impact on a child’s life, increasing their risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, mental health issues and many other illnesses, which can lead to shorter and unhappier lives. 

“The NHS is committed to helping as many young people and families affected by extreme weight issues as possible through our new network of 30 specialist clinics, which offer tailored packages of physical, psychological and social support – but the NHS cannot solve this issue alone, and continued joined-up action by industry and wider society is needed if we are to avoid a ticking health timebomb for the future.” 

To access the full article, visit: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(23)02750-2/fulltext 


 

 

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Upcoming Events

Infection Prevention & Control

National Conference Centre, Birmingham
23rd - 24th April 2024

ESGE Days 2024, Symposium – ‘Elevating Endoscopy: Inspiring Progress and Innovation’

Estrel Congress Center (room 15), Berlin, Germany
25th April 2024, 16:30 – 17:30 CEST

National DERS and SMART pump conference

BCEC, Birmingham
29th April 2024

Theatres & Decontamination Conference 2024

Coventry Building Society Arena
16th May 2024

The AfPP Roadshow - Birmingham

Millennium Point, Birmingham
18th May 2024

BAUN Summer Educational Event – Essential Urology Skills

Crowne Plaza, Newcastle Stephenson Quarter
6th June 2024

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

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