World Health Organization Warns Of Obesity 'Epidemic' In Europe

The WHO said Tuesday that "epidemic" overweight and obesity rates are linked to over 1.2 million deaths annually across Europe, calling for swift policy changes to reverse the dangerous trend.

Obesity rates in the region have ballooned by 138 percent in the past five decades, the World Health Organization said in a new report, and are linked to a series of cancers and cardiovascular diseases. 

Nearly a quarter of adults are now obese in Europe, higher than in any other region except the Americas, the WHO said.

"Overweight and obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions across the region and are still escalating," the health body's European office said. 

"Raised body mass index is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases, including cancers and cardiovascular diseases," WHO regional director Hans Kluge was quoted saying in the report.

Obesity causes at least 13 different types of cancer and is likely responsible for at least 200,000 new cases of cancer per year, it said. 

"This figure is set to rise further in the coming years," the organisation said in the new report. 

Excess weight and obesity are estimated to cause more than 1.2 million deaths per year, accounting for more than 13 percent of deaths in the region, it added.



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