Obesity is considered a chronic and multifactorial disease. Lifestyle choices such as unbalanced dietary habits and physical inactivity can influence the prevalence of this disease in Portugal and Worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is defined as an “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health”. It is a chronic, multifactorial disease that is associated with chronic and degenerative diseases.

A study by the Portuguese Society of Nutrition and Food Sciences in the adult population (aged 18-93) showed that 38.2% of women and 64.5% of men were overweight or obese.

Data from the WHO indicates that, every year, 2.8 million people die as a result of excess weight. It also shows that, in 2008, over 1.4 billion adults over 20 years of age were overweight. In the same year, over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese.

In 2011, over 40 million children under the age of 5 were above recommended weight.

Research has shown a direct relationship between socioeconomic status of a country and its overweight and obese prevalence, i.e., there is a higher proportion of overweight and obesity amongst socioeconomically disadvantaged population groups.