A new analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 shows that worldwide, there has been a significant increase in rates of obesity and overweight in adults (28% increase) and children (47% increase), with the number of overweight and obese people rising from 857 million in 1980 to 2.1 billion in 2013. The findings come from a new analysis of the global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obese adults ages 20 years and older as well as children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years between 1980 and 2013.

The results of the analysis show that the rates vary widely throughout the world with more than half of the world’s 671 million obese individuals living in just 10 countries; specifically, the United States (US) (more than 13%), China and India (15% combined), and Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Egypt, Indonesia, and Pakistan. Also, the highest rises in obesity levels among women have been in Oman, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain, while the highest increases in men was in Bahrain, Kuwait, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and the US.

The findings of the global analysis also reveal that in high-income countries, some of the highest increases in adult obesity prevalence have been in the US (a third of the population is obese), Australia (where 28% of men and 30% of women are obese), and the United Kingdom (around a quarter of the adult population are obese).  According to a Science Daily news report, the authors warn that the study presents a worrying picture of substantial rises in obesity rates across the world and say that concerted action is urgently needed to reverse this trend.

The study was led by Emmanuela Gakidou, PhD, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in the USA, and a team of international researchers performed a comprehensive search of the available data from surveys, reports, and the scientific literature to track trends in the prevalence of overweight and obesity 188 countries in all 21 regions of the world from 1980 to 2013.

Gakidou says, “ Our findings show that increases in the prevalence of obesity have been substantial, widespread, and have arisen over a short time.”

Source: Science Daily