Obesity is a significant and growing public health issue that has been characterized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global pandemic. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults were considered overweight, and of these over 600 million were obese. Obesity has been a health-burden for high-income countries for a number of years; however it is becoming increasingly prevalent in a number of middle and lower income countries too. For example, in Morocco approximately 52% of the adult population is overweight and 16.2% are considered to be obese. Data on childhood obesity and overweight reflects this trend. Globally, 41 million children under-five are considered to be overweight, and the bulk (nearly 31 million) live in developing countries (2013).
People become overweight or obese when they consume more calories than they expend. One of the main reasons for the growing obesity epidemic is that people are eating more and more packaged and energy-dense foods, which tend to be high in fat and sugar. At the same time advances in technology and transport mean that many people lead increasingly sedentary lifestyle and expend fewer calories, a trend which is particularly evident in urban environments.
The World Obesity Federation projects that, by 2025, the annual medical cost of treating the consequences of obesity will be $1.2 trillion globally.
The Access to Nutrition Index rates food and beverage manufacturers´ nutrition-related policies, practices and disclosures worldwide on a recurring basis.
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