A large study has reported that presently the world has more adults that can be classified as obese than underweight. Led by Imperial College London scientists, and published in The Lancet, the research has compared body mass index (BMI) in nearly 20 million adult men and women in the time period from 1975 to 2014. The researchers discovered that obesity in men has become thrice and over doubled in women.
Prof. Majid Ezzat, lead author, said that the condition is an ‘epidemic of severe obesity’ and has requested governments to take some action to deal with obesity.
For the study, researchers collected data from adults in 186 nations, and got to know that the number of obese people across the world had gone up from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014. On the other hand, the number of underweight people has surged from 330 million to 462 million in the same time span.
Worldwide obesity rates among men have gone up from 3.2% in 1975 to 10.8%, whereas in women they have risen from 6.4 % in 1975 to 14.9%. The study mentioned that this is equivalent to 266 million obese men and 375 million obese women worldwide in 2014.
It has also predicted that the chances of meeting the global obesity target set by the World Health Organization would be near zero. The WHO’s target was to avoid any rise in obesity above 2010 levels by 2025.
In clinical terms, obese is defined as a BMI of 30 kilograms per meter squared (kg/m2). BMI is a measurement related to weight and height.
Prof. Ezzati said, “Our research has shown that over 40 years we have transitioned from a world in which underweight prevalence was more than double that of obesity, to one in which more people are obese than underweight”.
Prof. Ezzati added that though it is comforting that number of underweight individuals has declined in the past 40 years, global obesity has met crisis point.