Ireland’s obesity crisis will be a full-blown epidemic by 2030 according to a report which projects that nine in every 10 adults will be either overweight or obese by that date.
For the first time, academics here have applied an internationally recognised foresight model first developed in Britain to project our obesity rates for more than two decades.
The academics, led by professor of public health at University College Cork Ivan J Perry, concluded: “Overweight and obesity are projected to reach levels of 89% and 85% in males and females respectively by 2030.”
The projection model, first developed by the UK Health Forum, has been applied to more than 70 countries around the world.
Findings for Ireland have just been published in the international online medical journal Plos One and forecasts a huge rise in health issues by 2030 with huge costs to the exchequer.
According to the study, there will be “an increase in the obesity-related prevalence of coronary heart disease [CHD] and stroke by 97%, cancers by 61% and type 2 diabetes by 21%. The direct healthcare costs associated with these increases will amount to €5.4bn by 2030”.
Were the projected figures to become reality, it would mean an overweight or obese population in this country of 3.5m by 2030, with 19% of that figure to be aged 65 or over.
The report, also found that while males will have higher rates of overweight or obesity than females, they will have lower overall rates of obesity.
And the study also found that “there will be approximately 67,899 cases of CHD and stroke, 97,133 cases of cancer, and 148,717 cases of type 2 diabetes by 2030”.
One of the authors, Laura Keaver, said the report was “a good baseline” on which future policies could be based, such as taxing sugary foods and increasing education in schools.
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