New study reveals alarming obesity statistics

What you need to know:

  • The analysis of global data highlighted a staggering increase in obesity prevalence, reaching nearly 1 billion people worldwide by 2022.

Dar es Salaam. A recent study has revealed alarming statistics regarding global obesity rates, with approximately one in eight individuals now classified as obese.

Published by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC) in The Lancet, the analysis of global data highlighted a staggering increase in obesity prevalence, reaching nearly 1 billion people worldwide by 2022.

The study disclosed a significant rise in obesity among both men and women since 1990. In 2022, the number of women with obesity soared to 504 million from 127 million in 1990, while the corresponding figures for men surged from 67 million to 374 million during the same period.

“The countries with the largest absolute numbers of adults with obesity in 2022 were the United States of America (USA), China, and India,” the study reads in part.

Titled 'Worldwide Trends in Underweight and Obesity from 1990 to 2022: A Pooled Analysis of 3663 Population-Representative Studies with 222 Million Children, Adolescents, and Adults,' the study was published online on February 29, 2024.

Addressing the concerning trends, the World Health Organization (WHO), which contributed to the study's data collection and analysis, emphasized the necessity of promoting healthy nutrition transitions to combat both undernutrition and obesity.

While acknowledging a decline in undernutrition rates, WHO highlighted persistent challenges, particularly in South-East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Island nations in the Pacific and the Caribbean, as well as countries in the Middle East and North Africa, were noted for their high combined rates of underweight and obesity in 2022.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus underscored the importance of early intervention in preventing and managing obesity through diet, physical activity, and comprehensive care.

He emphasized the crucial role of governments, communities, and evidence-based policies in achieving global targets to curb obesity.

Furthermore, Dr Tedros stressed the importance of accountability within the private sector for the health impacts of their products, highlighting the need for collaborative efforts to address this pressing public health issue.

Dr Francesco Branca, Director of WHO's Nutrition and Food Safety Department and co-author of the study, emphasized the challenges in implementing policies to ensure affordable access to healthy diets and promote physical activity.

He called for health systems to integrate obesity prevention and management into their core services.

In conclusion, combating the obesity epidemic demands concerted efforts from governments, communities, and the private sector, supported by evidence-based policies and comprehensive healthcare initiatives.