Study: Every 3rd adult overweight worldwide

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Study: Every third adult worldwide is overweight

A study published on Friday said that nearly 1.5 billion people worldwide - more than a third of all adults - are obese or overweight. The number of overweight people is increasing, especially in developing countries.

1.5 billion people overweight Over a third of adults worldwide are too fat. This says a study published on Friday by the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI). It says that 1.46 billion people worldwide, roughly every third adult, are obese or overweight. The researchers were particularly concerned about the rapidly increasing numbers in developing countries. There, the number of overweight and obese people almost quadrupled between 1980 and 2008. ODI researcher Steve Wiggins, one of the authors of the "Future Diets report" called this development "alarming".

Dramatic increase in developing countries The number of people affected in developing countries has increased from 250 million to 904 million during this period. But the number also increased in the richer industrialized countries, from 321 million in 1980 to 557 million in 2008. A body mass index (BMI) of 25 is the limit for obesity, which is a weight for a man of 1.80 meters tall of 81 kilograms.

More diseases expected The strong increase does not correspond to the growth of the world population, because it has only just doubled in the three decades mentioned. According to Wiggins, these developments will result in significantly more cases of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, stroke and heart attack as a result of these developments, which means "a heavy burden on health systems".

People eat larger amounts and exercise less. According to the study, China and Mexico have almost doubled their overweight and obesity rates since 1980. According to this, people would consume fewer and fewer grains and vegetables, but all the more meat, fat and sugar. People also eat larger amounts of food and move less and less at the same time.

Little willingness to change in developing countries The researchers also analyzed that both leading politicians and the population in developing countries would show little willingness to change the situation and promote healthier nutrition. "Politicians have to give up their reluctance to influence which food ends up on our plates."

Largest growth in Southeast Asia According to the study, the largest increase in overweight people in Southeast Asia was from 7 to 22 percent. And in North Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, the rate of overweight has now reached the European level of 58 percent. 64 percent of adults in the UK are affected and 70 percent in North America.

South Korean diets recommended According to the Overseas Development Institute, factors such as the availability of ready-to-eat foods, advertising and media influence, but also the development of a middle class and urban lifestyles are responsible for the higher number of overweight people. The diet is shifting from grain to more fat, sugar, oils and animal products. The scientists recommend a diet similar to that in South Korea. In 2009 people ate around 300 percent more fruit and 10 percent more vegetables than in 1980. The reason for this was a large-scale government campaign. (ad)

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