More Than 2 Billion People Worldwide Now Obese

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More than 2 billion adults and children across the globe are obese, and an increasing number are suffering additional diseases as a result, reports a new paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The paper analysed the obesity pandemic across 195 countries based on data taken from the Global Burden of Disease study (GBD) systematic, scientific effort to quantify health loss from all major diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex, and population. With more than 2,300 collaborators in 133 countries, the GBD study examines 300-plus diseases and injuries.

The number of deaths attributed to being overweight in 2015 was 4 million. Around 40% of those occurred to people whose weight was below what’s considered to be an “overweight” body mass index, or BMI.

What’s BMI?

BMI stands for body mass index. It’s a number which takes into account a person’s height and weight to calculate whether they are obese. You can calculate your BMI here.

“People who shrug off weight gain do so at their own risk — risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, an author on the study and Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. “Those half-serious New Year’s resolutions to lose weight should become year-round commitments to lose weight and prevent future weight gain.”

In April 2016 researchers found that more people on the planet were overweight than underweight, with obesity levels rising to 641 million people worldwide. When you compare that to the 105 million who were overweight in 1975, that’s a significant – and worrying – rise.

Being overweight or obese not only puts pressure on your joints, it can massively increase your risk of contracting other diseases. This study shows a direct link between a high BMI and cancers of the esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, gallbladder and biliary tract, pancreas, breast, uterus, ovary, kidney, and thyroid, as well as leukemia.

These results signal “a growing and disturbing global public health crisis,”according to the paper’s authors. But this problem which affects 1 in 3 people worldwide can be tackled without resorting to surgeries or pharmaceutical medications. Diet alone can help control weight.

Here’s what nutrition and diet can do:

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