Cases of heart disease and diabetes are set to overextend global health services if the current obesity pandemic remains unchecked, according to experts.
A number of leading health figures have painted a dire picture of the forthcoming impact of obesity at the International Congress on Obesity in Sydney, attended by some 2,500 leading experts in the field.
"This insidious, creeping pandemic of obesity is now engulfing the entire world," warned Paul Zimmet, chairman of the meeting, said in the opening speech of the congress.
"It's as big a threat as global warming and bird flu."
Mr Zimmet, from Australia's Monash University, added that there are now more overweight than undernourished people in the world.
Kate Steinbeck, from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, added that the current generation of children might be the first to die before their parents due to obesity-related health problems.
There are over 250,000 heart attacks in the UK every year.