Over a third of the adult population will be obese by 2030, according to estimates by the World Obesity Federation published recently.

This amounts to more than 126,000 adults in the country.

A report on the global situation regarding excessive weight was published by the federation to mark World Obesity Day which came on March 4.

The data shows that in the coming years the island’s obesity problem is set to worsen, with the number of people with excessive weight expected to reach all-time highs.

In fact, in three years’ time, the federation estimates that there will be around 120,000 adults considered obese while the figure will increase further to over 126,000 by 2030.

This means that 35 per cent of adults will be considered obese, a figure deemed as “very high” by the federation.

'The highest in Europe'

The report also shows that Malta’s rate will be among the highest in Europe, with the situation being worse for men than women. The estimates suggest that by 2030, 37 per cent of men will be obese, a figure that is the highest in Europe.

Hungary and the United Kingdom have the same rate as that for Maltese men.

The situation with women is only marginally better, with 33 per cent expected to become obese by 2030. This is the fourth-highest rate in Europe.

Of the estimated 126,000 people with problematic weight, a whopping 45,000 adults will be considered morbidly obese by 2030, putting them at an even greater risk of health complications.

“To meet global targets, countries have a major challenge to halt the rise in obesity and reduce obesity across all age groups,” the federation noted in its report.

“This is why urgent, comprehensive and global action is so vital,” it warns.

In reaction to the latest figures, the public health authorities said they “acknowledge” the problem and are committed to tackling the issue. 

They said there were multiple factors and a combination of influences behind obesity.

“These include lifestyle factors such as nutrition and physical activity patterns, cultural and environmental factors, social, economic and infrastructural factors,” public health chief Charmaine Gauci said.

“The envisaged way forward in tackling obesity, with particular focus on childhood obesity, will be through the strengthening of intersectoral responsibility and collaborative action.”

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