If current trends continue, nearly one-quarter of the world’s population will be obese by 2045. And one in eight people will have type 2 diabetes, research suggests.
Alongside those bulging waistlines, global rates of type 2 diabetes will jump from 9 percent to 12 percent over the next 22 years, placing an even greater burden on already strained health systems, scientists in Denmark and England reported.
“The global prevalence of obesity and diabetes is projected to increase dramatically unless prevention of obesity is significantly intensified,” according to Dr. Alan Moses, of Novo Nordisk Research and Development in Soborg, Denmark.
“These numbers underline the staggering challenge the world will face in the future in terms of numbers of people who are obese, or have type 2 diabetes, or both,” he added in a news release from the European Congress on Obesity.
In addition to the medical challenges, “the costs to countries’ health systems will be enormous,” Moses said.
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No ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach
For the study, researchers analyzed World Health Organization data for all countries. The investigators divided each population into different groups based on age and body mass index (BMI) in order to calculate the diabetes risk for each year. BMI is a measurement of body fat based on height, weight and gender.
A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight and those with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese; morbidly obese people have a BMI of 44.9 or more.
The researchers reported that global diabetes rates would stabilize only if obesity falls steadily from the current level of 14 percent to slightly more than 10 percent by 2045.
Broken down by country, by 2045 the United States can expect to see obesity rates climb from the current 39 percent to