Here’s the skinny on a new study. Obesity is gaining momentum. Big time. For the first time ever, there are more obese adults than underweight worldwide. U.S. men and women carried the most weight of the 186 countries included in the research project.
Published in The Lancet Medical Journal, the study pooled data from 1975 to 2014. Its lead author, Professor Majid Ezzati, said the data shows an “epidemic of severe obesity.”
Researchers from Imperial College London compared the body mass index (BMI) of nearly 20 million men and women during that time frame. Healthy BMI ranges from 18.5 to 24.9.
Here are some highlights (or lowlights) of what they discovered in the 40 year period:
In 1975, the average BMI for men worldwide was 21.7. The average BMI for women was 22.1. In 2014, the men grew to a 24.2 average BMI. Women grew to 22.4. The data shows adults on average gained 3.3 pounds per decade.
Global obesity rates were 3.2 percent in 1975. 40 years later they were 10.8.
Obesity in men has tripled. Obesity in women has more than doubled.
At the rate the problem is worsening, 1 in 5 adults could be considered obese by 2025.
By 2014, the world had approximately 266 million obese men and 375 million obese women.
The U.S. has 41.7 million obese men and 46.1 million obese women.
The U.S. has more than one-quarter of the world’s severely obese men and nearly one-fifth of the world’s severely obese women.
Meanwhile, the study provided more proof of the world hunger issue. The number of underweight had climbed from 330 million to 462 million.
Professor Ezzati told the BBC, “Our research has shown that over 40 years we have transitioned from a world in which underweight prevalence was more than double that of obesity, to one in which more people are obese than underweight. Obesity has reached crisis point.”
Based on the study results, the professor said the odds of the World Health Organization reaching its global obesity target of no increase in obesity rates from 2010 to 2025 — would be “close to zero.”
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