Third of the world's population overweight - study

  • 13/06/2017
Obesity rates have doubled since 1980, according to WHO.
Obesity rates have doubled since 1980, according to WHO. Photo credit: iStock

Nearly a third of the world's population is obese or overweight and an increasing number of people are dying of related health problems in a "disturbing global public health crisis", a new study says.

Some 4 million people died of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and other ailments linked to excess weight in 2015, bringing death rates related to being overweight up 28 percent on 1990, according to the research released on Monday.

"People who shrug off weight gain do so at their own risk," said Christopher Murray, one of the authors of the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In 2015, excess weight affected 2.2 billion people equal to 30 percent of the world's population, according to the study.

Almost 108 million children and more than 600 million adults weighed in as obese, having a body mass index (BMI) above 30, said the research that covered 195 countries.

More than 60 percent of fatalities occurred among this group, the study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington found.

BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared, and is an indication of whether a person is a healthy weight.

A BMI score over 25 is overweight, over 30 is obese and over 40 is morbidly obese.

According to the World Health Organisation, obesity has more than doubled since 1980, reaching epidemic proportions.

Obesity rates among children were increasing faster than among adults in many countries, including Algeria, Turkey, and Jordan, the study said.