May 28th, 2014
Portrait of the Global Obesity Pandemic
A new, comprehensive analysis, published in the Lancet, paints a frightening portrait of the global obesity pandemic. Analyzing data from a wide variety of international sources, the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 finds that from 1980 through 2013, the worldwide prevalence of overweight and obesity rose by 27.5% for adults and by 47.1% for children. The result was an absolute increase from 857 million overweight and obese people in 1980 to 2.1 billion in 2013.
For men, the proportion with a BMI of 25 or greater increased from 28.8% to 36.9%. For women, the proportion increased from 29.8% to 38.0%. Although the increase was observed in every country, the patterns were different between developed and developing countries. In developed countries, there were more men than women who were overweight or obese; in developing countries, the pattern was reversed. In 2013, nearly a quarter of children and adolescents in developed countries were overweight or obese.
The multinational team of researchers reported that the biggest gains in overweight and obesity took place between 1992 and 2002. One hint of good news: the increase in adult obesity appeared to slow starting in 2006.