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Obesity pandemic continues

WHO Report: Obesity pandemic continues

Approximately 3.4 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese
Over one billion adults are classed as obese
39% of adults aged 18 years and older (38% of men and 40% of women) were overweight

The latest data from the World Health Organization’s ‘Global Status Report’ has revealed that the prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults has been increasing in all countries. In 2014, 39% of adults aged 18 years and older (38% of men and 40% of women) were overweight, with 11% of men and 15% of women worldwide obese. This equates to more than half a billion obese adults.

However, the rates vary greatly between region (Figure 1), with the prevalence of overweight and obesity highest in the Region of the Americas (61% overweight or obese in both sexes, and 27% obese) and lowest in the South-East Asia Region (22% overweight in both sexes, and 5% obese).

Figure 1: Age-standardized prevalence of obesity in men aged 18 years and over, 2014

In the European and Eastern Mediterranean Regions and Region of the Americas, over 50% of women are overweight, and in all three regions roughly half of overweight women are obese (25% in the European region, 24% in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, 30% in the Region of the Americas).

In all WHO regions, women are more likely to be obese than men (Figure 2). In the African, South-East Asia and Eastern Mediterranean regions, women have roughly double the obesity prevalence of men. The report also shows that the prevalence of overweight and obesity increases with the income level of countries. The prevalence of obesity in high-income and upper-middle- income countries is more than double that of low-income countries. Although the Western Pacific Region ranks low in prevalence of obesity, the Pacific countries show high rates similar to the Americas.

Figure 1: Age-standardized prevalence of obesity in women aged 18 years and over, 2014

Children

The prevalence of childhood overweight is increasing worldwide. The latest estimates show that the global prevalence of overweight and obesity in children aged under five years has increased from around 5% in 2000 to 6% in 2010 and 6.3% in 2013. The increase in particularly evident in Africa and Asia, between 2000 and 2013, the prevalence of overweight in children aged under five years increased from 11% to 19% in some countries in southern Africa and from 3% to 7% in South-East Asia. In 2013, there were an estimated 18 million overweight children aged under five years in Asia, 11 million in Africa and four million in Latin America and the Caribbean.

There was little change in the prevalence of overweight in children in Latin America and the Caribbean over the last 13 years, but countries with large populations had levels of 7% and higher. It is estimated that the prevalence of overweight in children aged under five years will rise to 11% worldwide by 2025 if current trends continue.

The report estimates that approximately 3.4 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. 

To access this report (English version), please click here 

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