Globally, more than 2 billion people suffer from health problems related to being overweight or obese, and an increasing percentage of people die from these health conditions, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Interestingly, of the 4.0 million deaths attributed to excess body weight in 2015, nearly 40% occurred among people whose BMI fell below the threshold considered obese.
"People who shrug off weight gain do so at their own risk - risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions,". "Those half-serious New Year's resolutions to lose weight should become year-round commitments to lose weight and prevent future weight gain."
The study, which spans 195 countries and territories from 1980 through 2015, was released at the annual EAT Stockholm Food Forum, which aims to create a healthier, more sustainable food system.
The paper includes analyses of other studies on the effects of excess weight and potential links between high BMI and cancers of the oesophagus, colon and rectum, liver, gallbladder and biliary tract, pancreas, breast, uterus, ovary, kidney, and thyroid, as well as leukaemia.
In 2015, excess weight affected 2.2 billion children and adults worldwide, or 30% of all people. This includes nearly 108 million children and more than 600 million adults with BMI exceeding 30, the threshold for obesity, according to the study. The prevalence of obesity has doubled since 1980 in more than 70 countries and has continuously increased in most other nations. Although the prevalence of obesity among children has been lower than among adults, the rate of increase in childhood obesity in many countries was greater than that of adults.
Among the 20 most populous countries, the highest level of obesity among children and young adults was in the US at nearly 13%; Egypt topped the list for adult obesity at about 35%. Lowest rates were in Bangladesh and Vietnam, respectively, at 1%. China with 15.3 million and India with 14.4 million had the highest numbers of obese children; the US with 79.4 million and China with 57.3 million had the highest numbers of obese adults in 2015.
"Excess body weight is one of the most challenging public health problems of our time, affecting nearly one in every three people."
The United Nations "Decade of Action on Nutrition" is an initiative covering 2016-2025 to eradicate hunger, end malnutrition in all its forms (undernutrition,micronutrient deficiencies, overweight or obesity), and reduce the burden of diet-related non-communicable diseases in all age groups.