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2.1 Billion People are Overweight or Obese throughout the World

Update Date: May 29, 2014 04:16 PM EDT
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Despite efforts to combat the obesity epidemic, the latest numbers revealed that more people are becoming overweight or obese throughout the world. The new analysis found that within the past three decades, the global number of overweight and obese people jumped from 857 million to 2.1 billion. The report added that the United States has the highest proportion of overweight and obese individuals.

"Obesity is an issue affecting people of all ages and incomes, everywhere," Dr. Christopher Murray said reported by Philly. "In the last three decades, not one country has achieved success in reducing obesity rates, and we expect obesity to rise steadily as incomes rise in low- and middle-income countries in particular, unless urgent steps are taken to address this public health crisis."

For this study, the researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle analyzed information that was gathered from 1980 to 2013. The data included children and adults living in 188 countries. The team reported that during this time frame, the rate of overweight and obese adult men throughout the world increased from 29 percent to 37 percent. For women, the rate increased from 30 percent to 38 percent. The team noted that the rates for men were higher in developed nations whereas the rates for women were generally higher in developing nations.

The researchers added out of the 671 million obese people tallied in the study, more than half of them lived in 10 countries, which were the U.S., China, India, Russia, brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan and Indonesia. The U.S. had the highest rate of overweight and obese indivuals at 13 percent.

"Worldwide, the proportion of adults with a body-mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater increased between 1980 and 2013 from 28.8 percent to 36.9 percent in men, and from 29.8 percent to 38 percent in women," the researchers wrote according to NBC News.

The researchers also analyzed the rates of overweight and obese children during the same time frame. They found that these rates increased by almost 50 percent. By 2013, 22 percent of girls and almost 24 percent of boys living in developed countries were either overweight or obese. The rates in developing countries were around 13 percent for both sexes.

"The rise in obesity among children is especially troubling in so many low- and middle-income countries," study author Marie Ng, an assistant professor of global health at IHME, said. "We know that there are severe downstream health effects from childhood obesity, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many cancers. We need to be thinking now about how to turn this trend around."

The study, "Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013," was published in The Lancet.

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