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Friday marks World Obesity Day.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 1 billion people around the world are obese.
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The agency said that tally includes, 650 million adults, 340 million adolescents and 39 million children – with the number still increasing.
The WHO estimates that approximately 167 million people will become less healthy because they are overweight or obese by 2025.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity prevalence in the U.S. was 42.4% from 2017 to 2018.
Some groups were impacted more than others, and non-Hispanic Black adults had the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity, at 49.6%.
For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years old from 2017 to 2018, the prevalence of obesity was 19.3% and affected about 14.4 million children and adolescents.
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According to the agency, obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer – which are among the leading causes of preventable, premature death.
The WHO – which is urging countries to act to reverse this health crisis – explained that obesity affects the heart liver kidneys, joints and reproductive system.
Additionally, the agency pointed out that those with obesity are three times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19.
While the key to preventing obesity is acting early, the WHO said countries need to work together to create a “better food environment” for everyone.
“Effective steps include restricting the marketing to children of food and drinks high in fats, sugar and salt, taxing sugary drinks, and providing better access to affordable, healthy food. Cities and towns need to make space for safe walking, cycling, and recreation, and schools need to help households teach children healthy habits from early on,” it said.
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The WHO said it is monitoring global trends and prevalence, developing guidance to address the prevention and treatment of obesity and those who are overweight and providing implementation support and guidance for countries.
An “acceleration action plan to stop obesity” from the WHO secretariat will be discussed at the 76 World Health Assembly in May.
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