More people around the world are obese than underweight, study finds

(FILES) This combination of file photos made on April 1, 2016 in Paris shows (From L) obese people in Los Angeles in July 30, 2003, Mexico City on May 20, 2013 and Manchester on October 10, 2006.
Over one in eight adults are now obese -- a ratio that has more than doubled since 1975 and will swell to one in five by 2025, a major survey reported April 1, 2016. Of about five billion adults alive in 2014, 641 million were obese, the data showed -- and projected the number will balloon past 1.1 billion in just nine years.

Obese people now outnumber the underweight population around the world, STAT reports.

A new study that analyzed data from 19.2 million adults across 186 countries from 1975 to 2014 found that the underweight population has declined. Body mass index levels spiked around the world during the same period.

The researchers found the proportion of obese men more than tripled and the proportion of obese women more than doubled in the 40-year span. Following that pace, the researchers estimate that 18 percent of men and 21 percent of women around the world will be obese by 2025.

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told STAT he’s concerned about the impact of the obesity epidemic on developing countries.


“People always think obesity is a first-world problem, but it’s becoming just as bad, if not worse, in developing areas,” Feigl-Ding said. “In America, you can ameliorate your diet or blood sugar, or take cholesterol medicine, but in these developing countries, once things get bad, the mortality rates can’t be checked.”

Read STAT’s full report on the study here.

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