Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism

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Obesity: State of the Art

Paradoxically, given the degree of malnutrition existing on the planet, obesity is today one of the most visible and yet neglected public health problems. Despite the degree of malnutrition existing on the planet, obesity represents one of the main public health problems in the World. In fact, we are facing a real global epidemic, which is spreading in many countries and which can, in the absence of immediate action, cause very serious health problems in the coming years. A Global Epidemic affecting 50% of the adult population of industrialized civilizations. According to data provided by the WHO, the number of obese people in the World has almost tripled since 1975; in 2016, over 1.9 billion adults, aged 18 and over, were overweight; of these over 650 million are obese. In addition, 41 million children under the age of 5 are overweight or obese. This led the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) to recognize the importance of obesity prevention and treatment, considered "the most important public health problem in the World".

In Italy 35% of the population is overweight and about 10% is obese equal to about 6 million compatriots. The differences on the territory show a North-South gap in which the southern Regions have the highest prevalence of obese adults (Molise 14.1%, Abruzzo 12.7% and Puglia 12.3%) and overweight (Basilicata 39, 9%, Campania 39.3% and Sicily 38.7%) compared to the northern ones (obese: Bolzano PA 7.8% and Lombardy 8.7%; overweight: Trento PA 27.1% and Valle d'Aosta 30.4%). The percentage of overweight population increases with increasing age and, in particular, the overweight goes from 14% of the 18-24 age group to 46% between 65-74 years, while obesity passes, from 2.3% to 15.3% for the same age groups. In addition, the condition of excess weight is more common among men than women (overweight: 44% vs 27.3%; obesity: 10.8% vs 9%).

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