Study suggests obesity rates quadruple in developing countries

Last Updated: Jan 03, 2014, 19:47 PM IST
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Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: A new study suggests that there has been a drastic rise in the number of people facing obesity in developing countries.

According to the report by the UK's Overseas Development Institute, the number has reached almost one billion since 1980.

The report highlights that globally, the percentage of adults who were overweight or obese - classed as having a body mass index greater than 25 - grew from 23 percent to 34 percent between 1980 and 2008.

It is significant to note that the developing world, especially in countries where income level of people were rising which includes Egypt and Mexico recorded most number of increasing obesity cases.

The ODI's Future Diets report says this is due to changing diets and a shift from eating cereals and grains to the consumption of more fats, sugar, oils and animal produce.

A total of 904 million people in developing countries are now classed as overweight or above, with a BMI of more than 25, up from 250 million in 1980.

This compares to 557 million in high-income countries. Over the same period, the global population nearly doubled.

The regions of North Africa, the Middle East and Latin America saw large increases in overweight and obesity rates to a level on a par with Europe, around 58 percent.

While North America still has the highest percentage of overweight adults at 70 percent, regions such as Australasia and southern Latin America are now not far behind with 63 percent.

The greatest growth in overweight people occurred in south east Asia, where the percentage tripled from a lower starting point of 7 percent to 22 percent.

The report is published in Population Health Metrics.

(With Agency inputs)