Obesity affects one billion people

Published 10 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Around 1.5 million Swedes were living with obesity in 2022.

Obesity among adults has more than doubled worldwide since 1990 – and quadrupled among children and adolescents.

In a new study published in The Lancet, researchers analyzed weight and height measurements of more than 222 million people aged five years and older from 200 countries and territories. The study, conducted by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration in collaboration with the WHO, looked at figures between 1990 and 2022. It found that more than one billion people will be obese in 2022. In addition, a whopping 43% of the adult population will be overweight. To be considered overweight, a person must have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25, while the BMI for obesity is greater than 30.

– This new study highlights the importance of preventing and managing obesity from early life to adulthood, through diet, physical activity, and adequate care, as needed, said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

From 1990 to 2022, the rate of obesity among children and adolescents will quadruple. At the same time, it has more than doubled in women and nearly tripled in men.

1.5 million Swedes

The highest prevalence of obesity is in Tonga and American Samoa for women and American Samoa and Nauru for men, where about 70-80% of the adult population is obese. The United States ranks 10th for men and 36th for women. In Sweden, it is estimated that 1,487,000 people will be living with obesity in 2022, an increase of nine per cent for men and four per cent for women since 1990. Among children, obesity has increased by 8 percent for boys and 4 percent for girls.

The study also found that the proportion of adults classified as underweight has decreased by 50%, but the researchers stress that it remains an acute problem, especially among the poorest populations.

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