A new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine claims more than two billion people are either overweight or obese with the number of people dying from these health conditions also on the rise.
Researchers have also found that people are dying even though technically they can’t be considered obese. Of the 4.0 million deaths attributed to excess body weight in 2015, nearly 40 per cent occurred among people whose body mass index (BMI) fell below the threshold considered “obese.”
The study is one of the largest of its kind spanning 195 countries and territories over a period of thirty five years from 1980 through to 2015. The study is based on data from the most recent Global Burden of Disease study (GBD), a systematic, scientific effort to quantify the magnitude of health loss from all major diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex, and population. With more than 2,300 collaborators in 133 countries, the GBD study examines 300-plus diseases and injuries.
Scientists have analysed other studies on the effects of excess weight and potential links between high BMI and cancers of the esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, gallbladder and biliary tract, pancreas, breast, uterus, ovary, kidney, and thyroid, as well as leukemia.
According to the study in 2015, excess weight affected 2.2 billion children and adults worldwide, or 30 per cent 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 United States at nearly 13 per cent; Egypt topped the list for adult obesity at about 35 per cent. Lowest rates were in Bangladesh and Vietnam, respectively, at 1 per cent. China with 15.3 million and India with 14.4 million had the highest numbers of obese children; the United States with 79.4 million and China with 57.3 million had the highest numbers of obese adults in 2015.