The report released Tuesday (3/5) makes the clear conclusion that more than 1.2 million deaths per year in Europe are caused by being overweight and obese. According to health experts, this fact can be understood because excessive weight conditions can indeed lead to various health problems, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
According to the report, 200,000 new cases of cancer are discovered each year due to overweight and obesity. This condition also triggers the emergence of musculoskeletal complications, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and at least 13 types of cancer.
Julianne Williams, a WHO health expert who co-authored the report. explain the reasons why being overweight is becoming an increasingly common problem in Europe.
“We live in an environment where we have easy access to cheap and delicious food and where it’s very easy to be sedentary all day. We know our children are bombarded with advertisements,” says Williams.
“Advertising is even increasing in the digital world. When they play video games, for example, they see advertisements for foods rich in fat, sugar and salt. We know that children are especially vulnerable to that. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding in Europe is also very low compared to the rest of the world. elsewhere in the world. And we know that breastfeeding is one thing that protects children from being overweight and obese later in life,” he added.
Williams said that various restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic had contributed to worsening this condition.
“We see people become less active. Their physical activity decreases, their eating habits become worse. This is very worrying. When exposed to COVID, people who are obese, or people who are overweight, are more likely to be hospitalized in the ICU, and are more at risk of dying. “The high death rate from COVID-19 is a result of our failure to tackle obesity and overweight,” he said.
To change this situation, according to Williams, effective policy changes need to be implemented at the government level. WHO advises limiting store openings takeaway in low-income neighborhoods, recommending the use of mother’s milk, improving labeling of infant food, and promoting healthy eating programmes.
“It’s not just about telling individuals to change their behavior, it’s about changing policies. Advertising of high sugar drinks needs to be limited, especially to children. Taxes on high sugar drinks need to be increased. We also need to increase access to high quality obesity management services. ,” said Williams.
According to WHO, the number of people who are overweight and obese in Europe is increasing every year. Compared to 1975, 2016 data shows an increase of more than 138 percent. [ab/uh]