Obesity quadruples to billion in developing world
Washington, January 4, 2014
The number of overweight and obese adults in the developing world has almost quadrupled to around one billion since 1980, according to a report from a UK think tank.
The Overseas Development Institute said one in three people worldwide was now overweight and urged governments to do more to influence diets.
In the UK, 64 per cent of adults are classed as being overweight or obese. The report predicts a "huge increase" in heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.
Globally, the percentage of adults who were overweight or obese - classed as having a body mass index greater than 25 - grew from 23 per cent to 34 per cent between 1980 and 2008.
The majority of this increase was seen in the developing world, particularly in countries where incomes were rising, such as Egypt and Mexico.
The ODI's Future Diets report says this is due to changing diets and a shift from eating cereals and grains to the consumption of more fats, sugar, oils and animal produce.
A total of 904 million people in developing countries are now classed as overweight or above, with a BMI of more than 25, up from 250m in 1980.
This compares to 557m in high-income countries. Over the same period, the global population nearly doubled.
Using data published in Population Health Metrics last year, the researchers looked at changing overweight and obesity rates across the regions of the world and by individual country.
The regions of North Africa, the Middle East and Latin America saw large increases in overweight and obesity rates to a level on a par with Europe, around 58 per cent.
While North America still has the highest percentage of overweight adults at 70 per cent, regions such as Australasia and southern Latin America are now not far behind with 63 per cent.
The greatest growth in overweight people occurred in south east Asia, where the percentage tripled from a lower starting point of 7 per cent to 22 per cent.
Among individual countries, the report found that overweight and obesity rates had almost doubled in China and Mexico, and risen by a third in South Africa since 1980. Many countries in the Middle East also had a high percentage of overweight adults.-TradeArabia News Service