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Report: 30 per cent of world is now fat

AGENCIES
Friday, May 30, 2014

Update: 12:35PM Based on a new study, nearly 30 per cent of the world's population is overweight or obese, affecting an estimate of around 2.1 billion people.

Researchers conducted a comprehensive assessment on one of the most pressing public health concerns with the use of data between 1980 and 2013 in 188 nations. 

The study revealed that no country has lowered its obesity rates for over three decades.

The study noted that the world's obesity problem is rapidly spreading in developing nations and it could soon translate to more chronic diseases and burden on health-care systems worldwide.

Professor of public health from the University of Melbourne, Rob Moodie said that waiting for a cure is simply not possible.

"The public health system will be crushed by the obesity crisis and the rise in cancer, heart disease and diabetes."

Obesity is determined through the body mass index (BMI), the ratio of height to weight used globally. For example, a person who is 5 feet and 5 inches tall with a weight of 149 pounds has a body mass index of 24.8 which is considered healthy.

If this person gains a pound, his BMI will be 25 and considered overweight. Thirty more pounds and the person will have a BMI of 30 and considered obese.

There were 857 million obese and overweight people in 1980 and 2.1 billion in 2013. There is a 28 per cent increase in adults and around 47 per cent in children. Nations in North Africa, Middle East, Central America and the Pacific and Caribbean islands showed very high rates of obesity.

Australia had one of the highest increase, becoming 25th in ranking behind the United States and ahead of Finland, France, Japan and Germany.

The biggest rates among women were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Honduras, Bahrain and Oman. Among men, it was Bahrain, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the US.

There are 160 million overweight or obese Americans with 78 million obese adults. Almost three fourths of American men and over 60 percent of American women are overweight or obese.

 In Canada, 65 per cent of men are obese or overweight while almost 49 per cent of women are. Around 26 per cent of boys below 20 years of age are obese or overweight while 22 per cent of girls are.

Over 50 per cent of the world's obese people are only from 10 countries such as the US, India, China, Brazil, Russia, Egypt, Mexico, Pakistan, Indonesia and Germany.


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