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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Washington-Led Study Finds Nearly One-Third of World is Overweight or Obese

More than 2 billion people are either obese or overweight, presenting a major global public health epidemic, according to a new study led by Dr. Marie Ng, assistant professor of global health at the University of Washington School of Public Health.

The study, published in The Lancet, was conducted by an international consortium of researchers led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. The team analyzed data from 188 countries between 1980 and 2013. Researchers found obesity among adults increased from 29 percent to 37 percent in men and from 30 percent to 38 percent in women. During the same period, the prevalence of overweight or obese children rose by nearly 50 percent. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s obese people live in developing countries.

“The rise of obesity among children is especially troubling in so many low- and middle-income countries,” Dr. Ng said. “We know that there are severe downstream health effects from childhood obesity, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many cancers. We need to be thinking now how to turn this trend around.” Dr. Christopher Murray, professor of global health and director of the IHME, said not a single country has achieved success in reducing obesity rates over the last three decades.

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