80% of adult men in Spain will be obese or overweight by the year 2030


Scientific Highlights

A study led by researchers at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and doctors from the Hospital del Mar, has calculated as almost 2 billion euros the excess cost for the State’s health system caused by attending people with overweight, obesity and morbid obesity. This is the most updated revision available, based on around fifty articles published previously.

The articles reviewed, which analyse data from over 300,000 people, have enabled researchers to carry out monitoring of the evolution of the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Spain between the years 1987 and 2014. Based on these results estimates have been made for the years 2006, 2016 and 2030. According to the study, in the year 2016 in Spain there were some 24 million cases of excess weight, in other words, 70% of men and half of women of adult age. These represent 3 million people more than a decade before. If this tendency is maintained, the researchers envisage that the figure will exceed 27 million people by the year 2030, affecting 80% of adult men and 55% of adult women in this age group. It has been estimated that between the years 1987 and 2014, an annual increase occurred of 0.28% in overweight in men and 0.10% in women, and of obesity of 0.50% in men and 0.25% in women.

In the case of adult women, this figure will reach 55% of the total of the population

Excess costs of excess weight

Analysis of the data has also enabled an estimate to be made of the extra cost that caring for people with excess weight will represent for the health system. The researchers explain that “These are people who have greater possibilities of increasing health spending due to the comorbidities that they suffer, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer, all associated with overweight and obesity”. Thus, according to the estimates of researchers, in the year 2016 the direct excess cost with respect to 2006 increased by 524 million euros to reach 1,950 million. And if the increase in cases is maintained, it will continue to grow by 440 million euros per year, to exceed 3 billion euros by the year 2030.

Benefits of acting

Researchers point to various reasons for the sustained growth in overweight in Spain. Less healthy food patterns, with a greater consumption of industrial products and a reduction in fruit, vegetables and legumes, more sedentary lifestyles and an increase in employment and purchasing power during the period studied, which may lead to people acquiring less traditional dietary patterns.

To break with this tendency, they advocate interventions at different levels, such as new taxes on less healthy foods and protection of those that are ingredients in healthy diets, and educational policies to promote healthy habits, such as regular exercise starting at school. It would also be necessary to advance in new pharmacological strategies when necessary. They point out that obesity prevention plans could have a strong impact and be very cost-effective.


Reference article

Barroso M, Goday A, Ramos R, Marín-Ibáñez A, Guembe MJ, Rigo F, Tormo-Díaz MJ, Moreno-Iribas C, Cabré JJ, Segura A, Baena-Díez JM, Gómez de la Cámara A, Lapetra J, Quesada M, Medrano MJ, Berjón J, Frontera G, Gavrila D, Barricarte A, Basora J, García JM, García-Lareo M, Lora-Pablos D, Mayoral E, Grau M, Marrugat J, FRESCO Investigators. Interaction between cardiovascular risk factors and body mass index and 10-year incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer death, and overall mortality. Prev Med 2018; 107: 81-89.



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