The most recent scientific data on global obesity rates have proved disappointing, as the World Obesity Federation has warned that if current trends continue, 2.7 billion adults will be overweight or obese by 2025. Moreover, 268 million children of school age (5-18) will be overweight, with an additional 91 million considered obese. Particularly important is the increase in recorded obesity rates compared to 2010, when 218 million children were found to be overweight. This shows the alarming growth of the problem, which at this point already poses a serious threat to children’s development on a global scale.
The Hellenic Association for the Study of Obesity, Metabolism and Eating Disorders (EPAMEDI) recently warned that trends are equally concerning in the case of Greece. Data show that by 2025, some 480,000 children between the ages of 5 and 18 will be overweight or obese.
There has been a parallel increase over the past decade in other data trends, indicating some of the causes behind the problem. Global consumption rates of sugary drinks have gone up by 33 percent, the population living in urban areas has climbed to over 50 percent, and 80 percent of children aged 11-17 do not engage in sufficient physical activity.
Additionally, according to projections, obesity-related diseases will affect approximately 50 million children of school age globally by 2025 – this figure includes 27 million with hypertension, 38 million with fatty liver disease, 12 million with impaired glucose tolerance and 4 million with type 2 diabetes, a disease commonly associated with advanced age groups.
In Greece, it is expected that 120,000 children of school age will be affected by these ailments – including 23,000 with type 2 diabetes, 39,000 with hypertension, and 55,000 with fatty liver disease.
The direct global annual cost for the treatment of the most threatening complications relating to obesity (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcohol related liver disease, cancer and depression) was estimated at 600 billion US dollars in 2014. If urgent measures are not taken to slow and reduce obesity rates, the global annual cost of treatment for obesity-related complications could reach 1.2 trillion US dollars by 2025.