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Most recent data shows 30 percent of the world is obese or overweight

Michelle Obama (C) greets members of the audience during the 'Building a Healthier Future Summit' of the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) March 14, 2014, at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington.
Michelle Obama (C) greets members of the audience during the 'Building a Healthier Future Summit' of the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) March 14, 2014, at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington.Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nearly one-third of the world is overweight or obese and no country has successfully reduced obesity rates in the last 33 years. These are the conclusions of a systematic analysis of the national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults between 1980 and 2013 conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The research was published in the May 28, 2014, edition of the journal Lancet.

The study used the definition of obesity as a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 and overweight as having a BMI between 25 and 30. Men in developed countries were found to have more of a weight problem than women. The rate of increase in obesity for both men and women across the developed countries of the world was eight percent. Women in developing countries had more of a problem with weight control than men. Adolescent obesity in developed countries increased by 50 percent in the last 33 years.

The United States leads the world in obesity rates at 13 percent. China and India account for 15 percent of the world’s obese people. Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan, and Indonesia are the next most obese countries. Obesity is an increasing problem in the Middle East, North Africa, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the Pacific Islands where obesity rates have increased the most in the last few years.

No country has developed a solution to the world’s weight problem that has been successful. Many European countries have begun to consider weight as a personally controllable issue. The United States makes claims of minimal success in overcoming obesity in small select populations.

A person’s weight would not be a problem except for the burden of cost that a person’s weight puts on the health care system. Being overweight or obese has been demonstrated to increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. Overweight and obese people and thin people are taxed to pay the medical bill that being overweight or obese produces. Most of the world has some form of government funded medical care and the expense associated with people’s weight may soon break the bank.