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.