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56% of grownups in Moldova are overweight

56% of the adult population of the Republic of Moldova are overweight, with 23% being obese. A study to assess the health behaviors of children of school age carried out several years ago showed that 11% of the children were overweight and 2.2% of these were obese. The data were presented by the National Public Health Agency in connection with the launch of the European Regional Obesity Report 2022 by the World Health Organization, IPN reports.

Obesity is a complex multifactorial disease defined by excessive adiposity and is linked to an increased risk for many noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).  Obesity is associated with many diseases that affect multiple body systems. Adverse effects of obesity on health include those that result from the mechanical effects of increased body weight, such as some musculoskeletal complications, metabolic effects such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular risk, and the effects on mental health.

Obesity is also considered a cause of at least 13 different types of cancer including cancers of the breast, colorectum, kidney, liver and ovary, multiple myeloma and meningioma. Across the WHO European Region, obesity is likely to be directly responsible for at least 200 000 new cancer cases annually, with this figure projected to rise in the coming decades.

Overweight and obesity affect almost 60% of adults and nearly one in three children (29% of boys and 27% of girls) in the WHO European Region. Recent estimates suggest that overweight and obesity is the fourth most common risk factor for NCDs in the Region, after high blood pressure, dietary risks and tobacco. It is also the leading risk factor for disability, causing 7% of total years lived with disability, and obesity is linked to greater morbidity and mortality from COVID-19.

Alarmingly, there have been consistent increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the WHO European Region and no Member State is on track to reach the target of halting the rise in obesity by 2025.

Early studies from a number of countries in the Region indicate that the prevalence of overweight and obesity and/or mean body mass index has increased in children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report aims to accelerate the ongoing efforts to halt the rise in obesity in the WHO European Region. It brings together all of the relevant up-to-date statistics on the burden of obesity in the Region, and considers relevant policies and outlines the suggested health system’s response.

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