One third of the world’s population is overweight or obese and likely to suffer from health problems because of their weight, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. That’s not great news.
For the study, researchers looked at data from almost 70 million people between 1980 and 2015. They found that more than 2 billion adults and children are overweight or obese and that number, the number of people affected by obesity, has doubled since 1980 in more than 70 countries. And it continues to rise.
The rates were higher among women than men across all age groups and while the percent of children who were obese was lower than adults, the rate at which their numbers have climbed is bigger. The U.S. had the greatest percentage of obese children and young adults (13 percent) while Egypt had the greatest percentage of obese adults (35 percent).
Almost 40 percent of people who died as a result of their weight were not yet classified as obese – meaning that those in the overweight category are facing the same challenges.
The researchers did try to shed some light on the increase, nothing that obesity levels have risen in all the countries, regardless of income. This is what they wrote:
"Changes in the food environment and food systems are probably major drivers. Increased availability, accessibility, and affordability of energy dense foods, along with intense marketing of such foods, could explain excess energy intake and weight gain among different populations."
Obesity and excess weight gain can lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, diseases that while preventable, can have dire consequences. That's why it's so important to think about what we eat and how we're eating and focus on healthy recipes. And even if you or someone you know has diabetes, there's plenty to consider and cook up.
The researchers noted that there's work to be done but they're up to the task:
“Over the next 10 years, we will work closely with the (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) in monitoring and evaluating the progress of countries in controlling overweight and obesity."