More than a billion people obese worldwide, research suggests

More than a billion people are living with obesity around the world, global estimates published in The Lancet show.

This includes about 880 million adults and 159 million children, according to 2022 data. The highest rates are in Tonga and American Samoa for women and American Samoa and Nauru for men, with some 70-80% of adults living with obesity.

Out of some 190 countries, the UK ranks 55th highest for men and 87th for women. The international team of scientists say there is an urgent need for major changes in how obesity is tackled.

Obesity can increase the risk of developing many serious health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Ranking global obesity rates (the percentage of population classed as obese, after age differences are accounted for), researchers found:

The US comes 10th highest for men and 36th highest for women
India ranks 19th lowest for women and 21st lowest for men
China is 11th lowest for women and 52nd lowest for men

Senior researcher Prof Majid Ezzati, of Imperial College London, told the BBC: “In many of these island nations it comes down to the availability of healthy food versus unhealthy food. “In some cases there have been aggressive marketing campaigns promoting unhealthy foods, while the cost and availability of healthier food can be more problematic.”


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