Irish to be fattest in Europe by 2030, experts warn
IRELAND is on course to become the 'fattest country in Europe' by 2030 - with nine out of 10 people overweight or obese.
A major report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the island will face an obesity crisis of "enormous proportions".
Women will fare the worst, with experts estimating a massive jump in obesity rates from 23 to 57 per cent.
The forecast puts Irish men at the top of an 'overweight' table of 53 countries, matched only by Uzbekistan.
The survey has led to stark warnings by doctors, who describe weight problems as the the 'number one' public health issue for the future.
Professor Donal O’Shea, chair of a policy group on obesity at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, said he is increasingly seeing 'younger and heavier' patients at his weight management clinics.
"If you put the weight on at a young age, you can become dangerously overweight in adulthood. Those patients weighing in the region of 25/26 stone had started to gain weight under the age of 5," he said.
"Those who are overweight and obese not only face physical health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, but also self-esteem and other mental health issues.
"Action must be taken now to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic. Parents must look at what foods they are giving their children and become aware of the high sugar content in many foods and childhood favourites like fizzy drinks and high-sugar cereals."