Obesity has truly become a worldwide problem, affecting countries rich and poor. So just how many men, women, and children are overweight or obese? The data, from some regions, quite spotty. So projections from one group differ a bit from the estimates of another. But all point to tremendous increases in global obesity rates over the past three decades-and find that the epidemic shows no signs of abating without dedicated efforts to combat it.
Obesity - Our World in Data
Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obesity. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. Note: At an individual level, BMI can be used as a screening tool but is not diagnostic of the body fatness or the health of an individual. If you have questions about your BMI, talk with your health care provider. BMI does not measure body fat directly, but research has shown that BMI is moderately correlated with more direct measures of body fat obtained from skinfold thickness measurements, bioelectrical impedance, underwater weighing, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry DXA and other methods 1,2,3. Furthermore, BMI appears to be strongly correlated with various adverse health outcomes consistent with these more direct measures of body fatness 4,5,6,7,8,9. A comparison of the Slaughter skinfold-thickness equations and BMI in predicting body fatness and cardiovascular disease risk factor levels in children.
Adult Overweight and Obesity
Obesity is most commonly measured using the body mass index BMI scale. BMI values are used to define whether an individual is considered to be underweight, healthy, overweight or obese. Food per person — food availability has increased significantly in most countries across the world. How does the supply of calories, protein and fats vary between countries? How has this changed over time?
Obesity is a complex health issue resulting from a combination of causes and individual factors such as behavior and genetics. Behaviors can include physical activity, inactivity, dietary patterns, medication use, and other exposures. Additional contributing factors include the food and physical activity environment, education and skills, and food marketing and promotion. Obesity is serious because it is associated with poorer mental health outcomes and reduced quality of life. Obesity is also associated with the leading causes of death in the United States and worldwide, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.