WHO Study Reveals Global Obesity Crisis Affecting Over a Billion People

A new study published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other researchers has revealed that more than a billion people worldwide are living with obesity. The study, which used data from 2022, found that 879 million adults and 159 million children were obese, with the highest rates in some Pacific island nations.

Obesity Rates Have More Than Doubled Since 1990

The study, which was published in The Lancet journal, used data from more than 220 million people in more than 190 countries. It showed that obesity rates among adults have more than doubled since 1990, while they have quadrupled among children and adolescents. The study also found that 43% of adults were overweight in 2022.

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, while overweight is defined as having a BMI of 25 or higher. BMI is a measure of weight relative to height. According to the study, the global average BMI for adults was 25.6 for men and 25.4 for women in 2022.


The study also ranked the countries by their obesity rates, after adjusting for age differences. The results showed that the highest rates for women were in Tonga and American Samoa, where more than 80% of women were obese. The highest rates for men were in American Samoa and Nauru, where more than 70% of men were obese.

Obesity Is a Major Risk Factor for Many Chronic Diseases

The study highlighted the health consequences of obesity, which is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. The study estimated that obesity was responsible for 4.7 million deaths and 148.2 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in 2022. DALYs are a measure of the years of healthy life lost due to disease or disability.

The study also noted that obesity disproportionately affects low- and middle-income countries, where access to healthy food and physical activity is limited. The study found that obesity was more prevalent among women than men in most regions, except for Europe and Central Asia. The study also found that obesity was more common among children and adolescents in high-income countries than in low- and middle-income countries.

WHO Calls for Urgent Action to Prevent and Manage Obesity

The WHO, which co-authored the study, called for urgent action to prevent and manage obesity, through diet, physical activity, and adequate care. The WHO said that it has set global targets to halt the rise in obesity and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children by 2025.

The WHO also said that it provides evidence-based guidance and support to countries to implement policies and interventions that promote healthy diets and lifestyles. These include regulating the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages, promoting breastfeeding, taxing sugary drinks, and creating environments that encourage physical activity.

The WHO also said that it requires the cooperation of the private sector, which must be accountable for the health impacts of their products. The WHO urged the food and beverage industry to reformulate their products to reduce the levels of salt, sugar, and fat, and to provide clear and accurate nutrition information to consumers.

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