WHO/Europe obesity data: clarification

For further information, contact:

Stephanie Brickman
Communications Consultant
WHO Regional Office for Europe
UN City, Marmorvej 51
2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Tel.: +45 45 33 68 44
Email: sbr@euro.who.int

Copenhagen, 6 May 2015

Earlier today, Dr Joao Breda, Programme Manager for Nutrition, Obestiy and Physical Activity at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, presented the results of an obesity forecast exercise at the European Obesity Conference in Prague. The presentation said that unless immediate action is taken, the proportion of adults who are overweight or obese in Europe will rise by 2030. 

"These projections are the result of a forecast exercise conducted by the UK Health Forum for WHO Regional Office for Europe some time ago and present a bleak picture of an obese future for many countries in Europe, if action is not taken," said Dr Breda.  "Action taken today can prevent these predictions from becoming reality and in some European countries the trend is already flattening off thanks to preventative measures including successes, for example, in the area of childhood obesity."

"The study should be used with some caution as it was relatively small and was based on nationally available data that may not reflect the latest WHO estimates which are under further development," he added.

During the conference, data were presented from the WHO Global Status Report on Noncommunicable Diseases 2014 showing the rates of overweight and obesity in recent years (2010 and 2014). Modeling projections from the work with UK Health Forum were also presented to show projections to 2030.