Background. Overweight and obesity are one of the most significant risk factors of the twenty-first century related to an increased risk in the occurrence of non-communicable diseases and associated increased healthcare costs. To estimate the future impact of overweight, the current study aimed to project the prevalence of overweight and obesity to the year 2030 in Belgium using a Bayesian age-period-cohort (APC) model, supporting policy planning.
Methods. Height and weight of 58,369 adults aged 18+ years, collected in six consecutive cross-sectional health interview surveys between 1997 and 2018, were evaluated. Criteria used for overweight and obesity were defined as body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25, and BMI ≥ 30. Past trends and projections were estimated with a Bayesian hierarchical APC model.
Results. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased between 1997 and 2018 in both men and women, whereby the highest prevalence was observed in the middle-aged group. It is likely that a further increase in the prevalence of obesity will be seen by 2030 with a probability of 84.1% for an increase in cases among men and 56.0% for an increase in cases among women. For overweight, it is likely to see an increase in cases in women (57.4%), while a steady state in cases among men is likely. A prevalence of 52.3% [21.2%; 83.2%] for overweight, and 27.6% [9.9%; 57.4%] for obesity will likely be achieved in 2030 among men. Among women, a prevalence of 49,1% [7,3%; 90,9%] for overweight, and 17,2% [2,5%; 61,8%] for obesity is most likely.
Conclusions. Our projections show that the WHO target to halt obesity by 2025 will most likely not be achieved. There is an urgent necessity for policy makers to implement effective prevent policies and other strategies in people who are at risk for developing overweight and/or obesity.