The number of obese and overweight people in the world has exceeded 2.1 billion, up from 875 million in 1980, according to latest figures published in the Lancet.
The research said not one country is succeeding in treating obesity. US, China and Russia had the highest rates. Experts said the rise was due to the “modernization of our world”, causing “physical inactivity on all levels”.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) led the researchers across the world in this study, which is the most comprehensive to date.
Scientists analyzed data from surveys, such as from the World Health Organization, government websites, and reviewed “all articles” about the numbers of obese or overweight people in the world. The study said rates of obesity were rising across the world, although the rates in developed countries remain the highest.
More than half of the world’s 671 million obese people live in 10 countries, ranked in order:
Source: The Lancet
The study called for “urgent global leadership” to combat risk factors such as excessive calorie intake, inactivity, and “active promotion of food consumption by industry”.
Prof Ali Mokdad, of the IHME, said no country was beating obesity as it was a relatively new problem.
“It takes a little bit of time to see success stories,” he said.
The study reported more obese women than men living in developing countries.
Rates tended to be higher for women in developing countries as they were multi-tasking, looking after the family and working, said Prof Mokdad, so did not have the time to dedicate to managing their weight.
But more obese men than women lived in developed countries, said the study.