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Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries over 25 Years

Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries over 25 Years

The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing worldwide.

Epidemiologic studies have identified high body-mass index (BMI, the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) as a risk factor for an expanding set of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, many cancers and an array of musculoskeletal disorders.


This analysis supersedes all previous results from the Global Burden of Disease study with respect to high BMI by comprehensively reanalyzing all data from 1990 through 2015 using consistent methods and definitions.

In 2015, we estimated that 107.7 million children and 603.7 million adults were obese worldwide.


The overall prevalence of obesity was 5.0% among children and 12.0% among adults. Among adults, the prevalence of obesity was generally higher among women than among men in all age brackets.

The peak in the prevalence of obesity was observed between the ages of 60 and 64 years among women and between the ages of 50 and 54 years among men.


The prevalence of obesity among children and adults has doubled in 73 countries since 1980 and has shown a continuous increase in most other countries.

From 1990 through 2015, there was a relative increase of 28.3% in the global rate of death related to high BMI.


Nearly 70% of the deaths that were related to high BMI were due to cardiovascular disease, and more than 60% of those deaths occurred among obese persons.

The rapid increase in the prevalence and disease burden of elevated BMI highlights the need for continued focus on surveillance of BMI and identification, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based interventions to address this problem.






Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries over 25 Years.

N Engl J Med. 2017 Jun 12 [Epub ahead of print].

doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1614362. PMID: 28604169





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