Almost a quarter of the world will be obese by 2045

By June Shannon Obesity News   |   24th May 2018

By 2045 almost a quarter of people in the world will be obese and one in eight will have type 2 diabetes.

24 May 2018

New research has warned that almost a quarter of people in the world will be obese by 2045.

The study, which was presented at the European Congress on Obesity which is taking place in Vienna in Austria this week (23-26 May), also revealed that across the same time period one in  eight people worldwide will have type 2 diabetes.

The research, from various cities in the world, demonstrated that if current trends continue, 22 per cent of the people in the world will be obese by 2045 (up from 14 per cent in 2017), and 12 per cent will have type 2 diabetes (up from 9 per cent in 2017).

The study which was presented by Dr Alan Moses of Novo Nordisk Research and Development, Søborg in Denmark and Niels Lund of Novo Nordisk Health Advocacy, Bagsværd in Denmark and colleagues from the Steno Diabetes Centre, Gentofte, Denmark, and University College London, UK, also indicated that to prevent the prevalence of type 2 diabetes going above 10 per cent in 2045, global obesity levels must be reduced by 25 per cent.

For the study researchers obtained population data for all countries in the world from the Non-communicable Disease Risk Factor Collaboration (a WHO database). For each country, the population was divided into age groups. From 2000-2014 the population in each age group was divided into body mass index (BMI) categories. For each country and age group, the share of people in each BMI class was projected. The diabetes risk for each age and BMI group was then applied, allowing estimations of diabetes prevalence for each country each year. The prevalence for each country was calibrated to match International Diabetes Federation’s regional estimates thereby taking into account differences in way of life, nutrition and genetic disposition for diabetes.

"These numbers underline the staggering challenge the world will face in the future in terms of numbers of people who are obese"

Dr Alan Moses,, Novo Nordisk Research and Development, Denmark

According to the authors, although immediate action will not result in reversing the epidemic of diabetes and obesity quickly, it is essential to being work now to prevent new cases of obesity and diabetes. The authors’ model suggested that, to stabilise global diabetes prevalence at 10 per cent, obesity prevalence must fall steadily and in total by around a quarter, from the current level of 14 per cent to just over 10 per cent by 2045.

The authors noted that the above numbers are for the ‘global’ scenario. Individual countries display individual trends and should have their own targets.

“These numbers underline the staggering challenge the world will face in the future in terms of numbers of people who are obese, or have type 2 diabetes, or both. As well as the medical challenges these people will face, the costs to countries’ health systems will be enormous,” said Dr Moses.

"In the Irish Heart Foundation, we are particularly concerned about addressing childhood obesity,"

Janis Morrissey, Health Promtion Manager , Irish Heart Foundation

Commenting on the study Ms Janis Morrissey, Health Promotion Manager with the Irish Heart Foundation said, the research confirmed the importance of addressing obesity.

“In the Irish Heart Foundation, we are particularly concerned about addressing childhood obesity. One in four children in Ireland are overweight or obese and already we have seen children as young as eight years old with high blood pressure. We believe that a range of measures are necessary to tackle obesity,” she said.

“The Irish Heart Foundation welcomed the recent introduction of the sugar-sweetened drink tax as the first signal that Government is prepared to take tough action to tackle the obesity crisis. Such measures need to be built upon by ringfencing a portion of the proceeds of the sugar sweetened drink tax to fund measures targeted at children’s future health, particularly in disadvantaged areas where obesity rates are highest. Revenue could support a wide range of measures, including the development of new family food initiatives, further expansion of the school meals programme, removal of vending machines and the provision of free drinking water in all schools,” Ms Morrissey added.

(Photo credit World Obesity)

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