How children use meal-delivery apps and the rising popularity of online gaming could be driving obesity across Europe, the World Health Organization has said.
No European country is on track to stop obesity rising by 2025, the WHO says.
Nearly 60% of adults and a third of children are overweight or obese – and the Covid pandemic has made that worse.
It suggests restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods to children, cutting the cost of healthy food and encouraging all ages to exercise more.
The WHO European Regional Obesity Report 2022 says rates of overweight and obesity have reached “epidemic proportions”, with only the Americas having a higher level of obese adults than Europe.
It estimates the problem is causing 1.2 million deaths every year in Europe – 13% of all deaths – and at least 200,000 new cases of cancer annually.
Carrying too much body fat increases the risk of many diseases, including 13 types of cancer, type-2 diabetes, heart problems and lung conditions. It is also the main cause of disability, the report says.
Obesity is “a complex disease” and much more than the combination of an unhealthy diet and a lack of physical activity, it points out.
“Obesity knows no borders,” said Dr Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe.
“The countries in our region are incredibly diverse but every one is challenged to some degree.”
But “we can change the trajectory of obesity in the region” by developing strong health systems, he said. -BBC