A third of the world’s population is obese

NEARLY a third of the world’s population is overweight or obese, a study has revealed.

Shockingly, the figure is even higher among British adults with more than half of women and more than two thirds of men being overweight.

Experts said the ‘rising pandemic’ of obesity has become a ‘disturbing global public health crisis’, which is leading to surging rates of diabetes and heart disease.

They found that excess weight contributes to one in every 14 deaths from any cause – a figure they said is bound to rise.

Only 61 per cent of the weight-related deaths seen in 2015 were among people classed as ‘obese’, with the remaining 39 per cent among those who were merely ‘overweight’. Researchers said this suggests health problems start at a lower weight than previously thought.

Of the deaths, 65 per cent were due to heart disease, 14 per cent to type 2 diabetes, 7 per cent were linked to kidney disease and 9 per cent to cancer.

The startling paper, based on a compilation of figures from 195 countries gathered over 35 years, found 2.2billion people – 30 per cent of Earth’s 7.5billion population – were overweight.

Of these, 711million are classed as obese. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) score of over 30, while being overweight is having a BMI of more than 25.

The UK is well above the global average, with 67 per cent of adult men and 57 per cent of adult women being overweight. Of these, 24 per cent, or 12million people, are considered obese, a vast increase since 1980, when only 16 per cent were in this category.

Among children, 7.5 per cent – a total of one million – are obese, up from 5.5 per cent in 1980.

The US topped the table with a rate of 33 per cent obesity, and 79.4million obese people. China had the highest number of obese children, at 15.3million, followed by India on 14.4million.

The lowest obesity rates, of just 1 per cent, were seen in Bangladesh and Vietnam. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, used figures compiled by the World Health Organisation between 1980 and 2015.

It found obesity rates doubled over that period in more than 70 countries, and continuously increased in most others.

Last night lead author Dr Ashkan Afshin, of the University of Washington, said: ‘Excess body weight is one of the most challenging public health problems of our time, affecting nearly one in every three people.’

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© Daily Mail