Obesity is a serious public health problem across the OECD area. People in the obese category are more likely to have poor health outcomes and a shorter life expectancy, partly because they face a higher risk of developing type two diabetes, several cancers, stroke, or asthma.
It is predicted that between 2020 and 2050, overweight and obesity will cause an additional 462 million cases of cardiovascular disease and 212 million new cases of diabetes, leading to a reduction in average life expectancy in the OECD of 2.7 years.
The issue was brought to the forefront in 2020 when it was noticed that people living with obesity were at greater risk of developing severe symptoms and dying from COVID-19. One study found morbidly obese patients were 2.7 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than patients of a healthy weight, and for patients of an even higher weight, the risk was 4.2 times greater.