Global Obesity Rates Surge with Over a Billion People Affected, Study Finds

New research indicates that global obesity has reached alarming levels, with one in eight individuals worldwide now classified as obese. This equates to more than a billion people grappling with obesity, a condition that increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. The World Health Organization urges governments and the food industry to take action, especially to address rising obesity rates among youth. The study, which measured body mass index (BMI) to assess weight categories, reveals childhood and teenage obesity has more than quadrupled since 1990. The situation calls for concerted efforts to promote healthier lifestyles and support interventions to curb this growing health crisis.

  • Over a billion people globally are now considered obese, accounting for one in eight of the world’s population.
  • Obesity rates among children and teenagers have increased from 31 million in 1990 to almost 160 million in 2022.
  • Adult obesity numbers reached nearly 880 million in 2022, a significant rise from the 1990 figures.
  • Asia and the Caribbean are experiencing the fastest increases in obesity rates.
  • In Europe and North America, obesity levels are not rising as quickly, but they are not declining either.
  • The World Health Organization advises that governments and the food industry should make healthy foods more affordable, limit high-fat, sugar, and salt food advertisements, and promote physical activities and nutrition in schools.
  • New weight loss medications could be beneficial when paired with a healthy diet but are not a standalone solution for global obesity.

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