Fifty-one percent of the world’s population will be overweight or obese by 2035, with the most affected countries being in Asia and Africa, a new report estimates. The World Obesity Federation report claims that overweight and obesity-related problems could cost $4.35 trillion annually by 2035 if prevention and support do not improve.
The report says its estimates will be realized if current trends continue. Childhood obesity could more than double by 2035 from 2020 levels, the report says, adding that lower-income countries, all in Asia and Africa, will be hardest hit. The report adds that 208 million boys and 175 million girls are expected to be obese by 2035.
One out of four people is predicted to be obese by 2035, compared with one out of seven today. The report uses body mass index (BMI) for its assessments, a number calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared. In line with the World Health Organization’s guidelines, a BMI score over 25 is overweight, and over 30 is obese.
Describing the data as a “clear warning,” Louise Baur, the federation’s president, said that policymakers needed to act now to prevent the situation from worsening. The World Obesity Federation has a formal consultative status with the World Health Organization, according to its website. The report’s data will be presented to United Nations policymakers and member states next week.
In the United States, one of the major hurdles army recruiters now face is obesity, which has become a dominant health challenge for Americans. As of 2020, the prevalence of obesity in the adult population hit nearly 42 percent. In addition, research shows that government food subsidies are a significant contributing factor.
One 2022 study found a link between receiving food assistance and a greater chance of becoming obese by consuming unhealthy foods. That’s especially true for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).