#4. United Arab Emirates
#8. Saudi Arabia
#9. United States
#10. Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
#13. Trinidad and Tobago
#17. New Zealand
#20. United Kingdom
#23. Papua New Guinea
#25. Solomon Islands
- Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
- In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.
- 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese.
- Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
- 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2013.
- Obesity is preventable.
What are overweight and obesity? – Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).
The WHO definition is:
- a BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight
- a BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity.
BMI provides the most useful population-level measure of overweight and obesity as it is the same for both sexes and for all ages of adults. However, it should be considered a rough guide because it may not correspond to the same degree of fatness in different individuals.
What causes obesity and overweight? – The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. Globally, there has been:
- an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat; and
- an increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.
Changes in dietary and physical activity patterns are often the result of environmental and societal changes associated with development and lack of supportive policies in sectors such as health, agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, food processing, distribution, marketing and education.
What are common health consequences of overweight and obesity? – Raised BMI is a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases such as:
- cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke), which were the leading cause of death in 2012;
- musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints);
- some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon).
The risk for these noncommunicable diseases increases, with an increase in BMI.
Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood. But in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological effects.