By 2060, the economic damage to Uzbekistan due to the overweight and obese population is estimated to reach $21.6 billion. This amount is equivalent to $490 per capita and 4.7% of GDP. In turn, it is expected to result in a twelvefold surge of the total state costs.

This information is presented in an article by Ulugbek Khuzhakulov, an analyst at the Center for Economic Research and Reforms. It analyzes the economic implications of overweight and obesity for Uzbekistan based on data from the World Bank, the World Health Organization and the World Obesity Federation (WOF).

The average body mass index (BMI) in Uzbekistan has shown an annual increase by 0.12 points since 1991, reaching 25 kg per square meter in 2006.

BMI is calculated by dividing body weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. The ideal body mass for men is calculated based on a BMI of 23 kg per square meter. The ideal body mass for women is calculated based on a BMI of 21.5 kg per square meter.

According to WHO data, the current average BMI in Uzbekistan is 26.5 kg per square meter — the highest in Central Asia.

Elevated BMI stands as one of the key risk factors for non-communicable disease, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and cancer.

WOF predicts that by 2030 and 2060, the percentage of adults classified as overweight or obese will increase to 59% and 80%, respectively. The proportion of obese adults categorized as obese will increase from 18.9% in 2020 to 25% by 2030 and 50% by 2060.

In early December, the Sanitary-Epidemiological Peace and Public Health Service citing WHO, stated that half of Uzbekistan’s population aged 18 to 64 is contending with overweight issues and 20% with obesity.

In addition, 67% of the country’s residents do not consume ample amounts of fruits and vegetables, averaging less than 400 grams per day. The average salt intake of the population is 14.9 grams per day — three times higher than the WHO recommended limit.