One in eight adults now obese: global survey

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It found obesity in men has tripled and more than doubled in women.Over the same time, the proportion of underweight people fell from 14 percent to 9 percent of men and from 15 percent to 10 percent of women, according to the study.The research also predicted that the probability of reaching the World Health Organization’s global obesity target – which aims for no rise in obesity above 2010 levels by 2025 – would be “close to zero”. If the rate of obesity continues at this pace, by 2025 roughly a fifth of men (18%) and women (21%) worldwide will be obese, and more than 6% of men and 9% of women will be severely obese (35 kg/m² or greater).Researchers also found that underweight adults are still prevalent in the world’s poorest regions, particularly in south Asia and central and east Africa.Obesity is commonly measured by BMI (body mass index, which is body mass divided by the square of the body height) a measure which has well known flaws at an individual level, since muscular athletes may have a high BMI without being obese.That’s a part of the message, that there are parts of the world that are still suffering from high levels of undernourishment and then there are many other parts that are actually, you know, passing an era of obesity and entering an era of severe obesity.However, severe obesity in women will surpass the number of underweight female adults if trends continue. More than a fifth of men in India, Bangladesh, Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Ethiopia, and a quarter of women in Bangladesh and India, were underweight.The US was next and the United Kingdom was eighth for men, 6.8 million of whom were obese in 2014, and 11th for women, of which 7.7 million were obese.The report compared body mass index among nearly 20 million adult men and women from 1975 to 2014.On average, people worldwide have become an average of 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) heavier each decade.Britain already has some of the worst obesity levels in Europe, with the third highest average BMI for women and the tenth highest for men.Prof George Davey Smith, from the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, School of Social and Community Medicine in Bristol, said that tackling the obesity crisis could harm some of the world’s poorest countries.”A focus on obesity at the expense of recognition of the substantial remaining burden of undernutrition threatens to divert resources away from disorders that affect the poor to those that are more likely to affect the wealthier in low-income countries”, he noted.Prof Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the results were a stark reminder to the government of the work that remained to be done. Excess weight raises the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.”That’s why we’re supporting the government to develop its childhood obesity strategy, we’re running the world’s first national diabetes prevention programme and we’re now piloting, with local councils and Leeds Beckett University, a whole systems approach to tackling obesity”. “The more that is known about underlying causes, the better this worldwide crisis be addressed”.