WHO: As Europe gets fatter, the Dutch get thinner

Obese Man (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/ParentingPatch). (Obese Man (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/ParentingPatch))

Europe will have an obesity epidemic on its hands by 2030, the World Health Organization warned at a European Congress on Obesity in Prague on Wednesday. The WHO called it a "major crisis".

This is based on the results of a study commissioned by the WHO's European Regional Office in Copenhagen, press service AFP reports. According to the study, almost all Irish adults will be overweight or obese in 2030, and an expected third of all women in Britain. The number of obesity cases will also increase significantly in Greece, Spain, Sweden, Australia and the Czech Republic. In Greece, the number of obesity cases is expected to double - from 20 percent in 2010 to 40 percent in 2030.

The Netherlands is an exception to this. The study expects that the number of obesity cases will actually decrease in the Netherlands. About 49 percent of men will be overweight and 8 percent obese in 2030 - compared to 54 percent and 10 percent in 2010. The overweight rates for women are expected to remain stable around 43 percent and obesity is expected to drop from 13 percent to 9 percent.

A person is classified as over weight if their BMI - body mass index, the ratio between height and weight - is higher than 25, and obese if the BMI is higher than 30. Obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some forms of cancers.

In March the municipality of Amsterdam announced that the city's approach to a healthy weight has slashed childhood obesity by 16 percent in two years.