By Kayode Sanni-Arewa
The World Obesity Atlas 2023 report published by the World Obesity Federation has shown that Nigeria is least prepared to deal with the rising Non-Communicable Diseases and obesity globally.
The report shows that Nigeria ranks 180 out of 183 countries on the NCDs-Obesity Preparedness Rankings
The ranking system takes account of countries' current health system responses to the NCDs and their commitment to the implementation of obesity prevention policies.
The report shows marked variations in preparedness across national income levels and geographical regions. For example, the average preparedness ranking for low-income countries is just 154/183 compared to 29/183 for high-income countries. All 10 of the most prepared countries are in Europe, while eight of the 10 least prepared countries are in the African region.
Other countries least prepared to deal with NCDs-obesity are Niger ranking 183, Papua New Guinea 182, Somalia 181, Central African Republic 179, Burkina Faso 178, Guinea Bissau 177, Burundi 176, Tokelau 175, and Gambia 174.
Meanwhile, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Ireland, and Belgium are listed to be most prepared to deal with obesity and NCDs.
The trends suggest a gradual rise in prevalence for all groups over the period 2020 to 2035, but the pace of change for lower-income countries and especially the lowest-income countries could well increase relative to the last two decades.
Lower-middle-income countries with large populations, such as India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Nigeria may quite quickly follow the pattern of upper-middle-income countries such as Mexico, Brazil, and Turkey in seeing a rapid rise in obesity prevalence, especially among children and adolescents, the report noted.
The projected trend in the prevalence of obesity in Nigerian adults with obesity by 2035 is 24 per cent.
It also showed that the annual increase in adult and child obesity from 2020 to 2035 is very high at 4.9 per cent and 8.3 per cent respectively.
It said the overweight impact on the national GDP is projected to be 0.9 per cent by 2035.
The World Obesity Federation's research shows that people living with obesity face some barriers to care as they often cannot get a diagnosis (because obesity may not be classified as a disease) or access the treatment they need from knowledgeable and trained health professionals, and are forced to incur substantial out-of-pocket expenses to receive appropriate medical treatment
By 2035, the economic impact of overweight and obesity is estimated to be over $370 billion a year in low and lower-middle-income countries alone.
Commenting on the report, the Director of Science at the World Obesity Federation, Rachel Jackson-Leach said “If we do not act now, we are on course to see significant increases in obesity prevalence over the next decade.
The greatest increases will be seen in low and lower-middle income countries, where scarce resources and lack of preparedness will create a perfect storm that will negatively impact people living with obesity the most.”