The obesity epidemic in Europe: Assessing the past and current mortality burden and the future of obesity

Nikoletta Vidra

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    Obesity is considered a global epidemic in terms of both its prevalence and associated health burden. Although Europe has the second-highest obesity prevalence levels in the world, few studies have focused on the obesity epidemic in Europe, or on its mortality burden.
    This thesis examined for Europe how obesity affects mortality levels and trends, and how obesity is likely to develop in the future, using a combination of demographic and epidemiological data and methods.
    In 2012, the share of mortality due to obesity (obesity-attributable mortality fraction) was, on average, 10% in the 26 European countries studied. If obesity was eliminated, life expectancy would, on average, increase 1.22 and 0.98 years among men and women, respectively. The mortality burden of obesity was slightly lower in Western than in Eastern Europe. Within Western Europe, the UK had the largest mortality burden. The mortality burden of obesity has been increasing over time, with important cohort effects. The obesity epidemic in Europe is expected to reach its peak between 2026 and 2054, with prevalence levels of at least 25%.
    The mortality burden of obesity in Europe is significant, with clear variations between countries. The UK seems to be the forerunner in obesity levels in Western Europe, and to be following US trends. The variations observed between European countries can be linked to both contextual factors (e.g., obesogenic environment) and individual factors (e.g., dietary and physical activity patterns). Obesity and its associated mortality burden in Europe are problems that clearly warrant further attention from society and health policy-makers.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Janssen, Fanny, Supervisor
    • van Wissen, Leonardus, Supervisor
    Award date25-Apr-2019
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-94-638-0309-0
    Electronic ISBNs978-94-6380-306-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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