The World’s Battle of the Bulge

An amazingly comprehensive new Lancet study, with nearly 150 authors, tracks overweight and obesity rates across 188 countries from 1980 to 2013.  Some highlights:

  • Worldwide, the proportion of overweight adults (BMI 25) increased from 29 to 37 percent among men and 30 to 38 percent among women.
  • Over the last 33 years, no country has reduced its obesity rate.
  • In 2010, “overweight and obesity were estimated to cause 3.4 million deaths.”
  • National variations are huge, with the percentage overweight ranging 85 percent among adults in Tonga to 3 percent in Timor-Leste.

The study is amazing not only in its global comprehensiveness, across time, but also in its public, interactive data archive available from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

As a screen shot example, I compared the U.S. increase in the overweight percentage (upper dark line) with the global increase (lower dark line).  All other countries are in light blue.