A study reveals 880 million adults and 159 million children are obese worldwide

With obesity on the rise on every continent, a new study reveals just how many people in the world are obese. This figure exceeds previous forecasts.

study obese people worldwide
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study obese people worldwide

Obesity is a scourge that is spreading everywhere. Today, it is far from being the exclusive preserve of the United States, as many other countries, including the UK, have a significant proportion of obese people. This is a real public health problem, as obesity and overweight provide fertile ground for many diseases. Worldwide, here's how many people suffer from obesity.

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More than a billion obese people on Earth

Published in The Lancet, the study shares some staggering statistics. According to scientific estimates, over a billion people worldwide suffer from obesity. More precisely, 880 million adults and 159 million children are affected by this disease.

Contrary to what you might think, the United States is far from in first place. As the BBC reports:

The highest rates are seen in Tonga and American Samoa for women, and American Samoa and Nauru for men, with some 70-80% of adults obese.

Obesity does not affect men and women equally. For example, the United States is the tenth country with the highest rate of obesity among men, while it is the 36th country with the highest rate of obesity among women. This remains relative, but France and Spain are good pupils because, according to Prof. Majid Essati, who took part in the study :

Signs of a downturn in some southern European countries, especially for women, with Spain and France being notable examples.

A threshold crossed earlier than expected

Initially, this symbolic figure was to have been reached by 2030, but it was exceeded as early as 2022. KSL points out:

Obesity rates among children and adolescents worldwide have quadrupled between 1990 and 2022, while obesity rates among adults have more than doubled.

Why is this epidemic on the rise? Long considered a 'rich-country problem', obesity has become a global issue, affecting developing and middle-income countries. One of the main causes is the lack of access to healthy food and sports facilities for the poorest populations.

This article has been translated from Gentside FR.

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Sources used:

The Lancet: Worldwide trends in underweight and obesity from 1990 to 2022: a pooled analysis of 3663 population-representative studies with 222 million children, adolescents, and adults

BBC: More than a billion people obese worldwide, research suggests

KSL: More than 1 billion people in the world now live with obesity, analysis finds

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