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World's obese population rise to 640 million

World's obese population rise to 640 million
7th April 2016

New research has estimated that around 640 million people around the world are now classed as obese, putting them at an increased risk of a variety of health problems.

The analysis, led by a team at Imperial College London, involved the World Health Organization (WHO) and looked at nearly 20 million adults, using BMI to work out whether their weight was within a healthy range or not.

In the biggest study of its kind, more than 700 researchers helped carry out the study, which was published in the journal The Lancet.

They found that globally obesity has tripled among men in the last four decades, rising from 3.2 per cent in 1975 to 10.8 per cent in 2014. In women, this figure nearly doubled, increasing from 6.4 per cent to 14.9 per cent in the same period.

This means that around 266 million men and 375 million women are obese, according to the figures from 2014.

Professor Majid Ezzati, senior author of the study from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said this poses a serious threat to health for those who are obese, which is likely to put pressure on services around the world.

She said: "And this epidemic of severe obesity is too extensive to be tackled with medications such as blood pressure lowering drugs or diabetes treatments alone, or with a few extra bike lanes."

Calling for coordinated global initiatives, Professor Ezzati recommended introducing increases taxes on foods containing high amounts of sugar or that are heavily processed to tackle the problem.

If current trends continue, the researchers estimate that around a fifth of the population (18 per cent of men and 21 per cent of women) will be obese by 2025.
In addition, the probability of reaching the obesity target outlined by WHO - to match the obesity levels of 2010 by 2025 - will be close to zero.

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