The planet’s obesity epidemic is on target to impact 20 percent of the global population by 2025, a new study finds.
The acceleration of obesity across the planet is so significant--outpacing the number of underweight people on the planet for the first time in history--the researchers from Imperial College London warn “there is no chance the world can meet the target set by the UN for halting the obesity rate,” reports FoodNavigator-USA.com.
The study, published in the recent issue of The Lancet, looked at body mass index (BMI) of hundreds of million adult men and women in a range of health studies from 1975 to 2014. In 1975, the study authors noted 105 million obese people, compared with an astounding 641 million in 2014.
“The percentage of obese men had more than tripled since 1975 from 3.2% to 10.8%,” reports FoodNavigator, “In women, the figure had more than doubled, from 6.4% to 14.9%.”
Populations are gaining on average 1.5 kilos (nearly three-and-a-half pounds) every single decade since 1975. And with the excess weight comes numerous health risks including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
“The number of people across the globe whose weight poses a serious threat to their health is greater than ever before,” Majid Ezzati, senior study author and professor at the School of Public Health at Imperial, told FoodNavigator.
While obesity is often associated with lower income communities, the researchers noted that in high-income English-speaking countries, the women especially, had significantly higher BMIs than in Europe, and much higher than 1975’s findings.
“This epidemic of severe obesity is too extensive to be tackled with medication such as blood pressure lowering drugs or diabetes treatments alone, or with a few extra bike lanes,” Ezzati said.
“We need coordinated global initiatives—such as looking at the price of healthy food compared to unhealthy food, or taxing high sugar and highly processed foods—to tackle this crisis.”
Obesity is more than just putting on a little extra weight during the holidays. The National Institutes of Health defines obesity as a BMI of 30 and above. The normal BMI range for an adult is between 18.5-24.9, and overweight is between 25-29.9. BMI is calculated by assessing one's weight compared to their height.
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