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Friday 28th October 2016

Europe's children getting fatter

24th April 2007

Obesity rates are rising across Europe, with a worrying rate of increase in childhood obesity across the region, recent studies show.


Researchers told the 15th European Congress on Obesity in Budapest that obesity was reaching "epidemic proportions", and that Europe was facing major health and social burdens.

There are an estimated 1.1 billion overweight people in the world, of whom 312 million are obese. In Europe, 10-20% of men are obese, while almost half the population is overweight.

Some 30% of children in Britain are obese or overweight, and percentages are rising in southern Europe, while in new European Union states in eastern Europe, rates of obesity are surging at a time when health spending is being curtailed, experts said.

They also say that more than 80% of children who are already obese will stay obese as adults.

Obese people are far more likely to suffer early deaths, have health problems like type 2 diabetes, and have a lower quality of life, as well as being unable to participate in work.

The obesity epidemic has reached a crisis point, experts warn at this week's European congress, and governments and the food industry must gear up efforts to deal with it now, if they wish to prevent further impact on the quality of life and life expectancy, together with all the implications for rising healthcare costs that the epidemic entails.

Danish researchers presenting at the conference said food quality and portion sizes in fast food restaurants should be carefully regulated. Some manufacturers had already taken steps to reformulate processed food products to make them healthier, they said.

But obesity researchers also stress repeatedly that other measures are needed, especially education, promoting exercise and a healthier lifestyle, and the integration of the medical profession into obesity campaigns.

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