Amost as many people with obesity as of a healthy weight in Wales by the 2040s, research projects
There will be almost as many obese people as people of a healthy weight in Wales by the 2040s if current trends continue, according to new projections.
If current adult BMI trends continue, it is projected that 32% of the Welsh population – 870,000 people – will be obese by 2040, just marginally fewer than the 34% – 920,000 people – of a healthy weight, Analysis by Cancer Research UK shows.
The percentage of overweight adults in Wales is projected to increase from 59% in 2015 to 66% – a 12% relative increase – by 2040. That equates to around 1.8 million overweight people.
Wales however would fare slightly better than England and Northern Ireland, where the number of people who are obese could overtake the number who are a healthy weight by as early as the late 2020s and late 2030s respectively.
Those from the most deprived backgrounds in Wales were almost twice as likely to be obese than those of the least deprived backgrounds, the study showed.
Dr Julie Sharp, head of health and patient information at Cancer Research UK, said: “Obesity is a complex issue and the world around us can make it very difficult to keep a healthy weight.
“Government action is key in making sure that the healthy option is readily available and affordable for people and addressing the wider barriers that prevent people from living healthy lives.
“If these staggering trends continue, obesity will eclipse smoking as the biggest cause of cancer.”
Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said the projections should serve as a “wake-up call” about the state of the UK’s health.
“Ministers mustn’t keep kicking the can down the road when it comes to tackling the obesity crisis – delaying measures that will lead to healthier food options,” he said.
“I urge them to revisit this decision and take bold action on obesity, the second biggest preventable risk factor for cancer in the UK.”
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