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One billion individuals are overweight and those affected are teenagers and children

A study published today (01), by the international consortium of researchers NCD-RisC, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO), showed the following data: the most recent global estimate of the obesity rate shows that more than 1 billion people are obese. The increase is mainly driven by the growth in the prevalence of overweight among children and adolescents, which quadrupled in just over three decades. The statistics refer to 2022, the last year with data collected and compiled.

Global obesity trends

In an article published today in the British medical journal Lancet, more than 1,500 researchers detailed the results of a study that identified 879 million adults and 159 million children and adolescents as obese. The obesity rate among children and adolescents quadrupled between 1990 and 2022, with girls reaching 6.9% and boys 9.3%. In adults, the rate doubled among women (18.5%) and tripled among men (14.0%).

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Person with hands on abdomen (Photo: publicity/Andres Ayrton/Pexels)


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In Brazil, obesity is above the global average in all categories, with rates of 33% for women, 25% for men, 14% for girls and 17% for boys. The study adopted a body mass index (BMI) above 30 kg/m² as a criterion for obesity.

Global nutritional challenges

Despite the limitations of BMI, it is an effective indicator for assessing nutritional health in population contexts. On the other hand, the number of minimally healthy underweight people is decreasing.

This opposing trend between obesity and unhealthy thinness has brought the world to a tipping point, with more countries facing overweight problems than underweight. The link between poverty and malnutrition presents significant challenges, especially considering the lack of access to appropriate medical interventions in poorer populations.

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Scientists warn of the ineffectiveness of current approaches to dealing with obesity, highlighting the need for urgent changes to food production and public health policies.

Featured Photo: woman measuring her abdomen (Reproduction/sukanya sitthikongsak/Getty Images/CNN)

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One billion individuals are overweight and those affected are teenagers and children

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