Climbing obesity rates are now a problem in nearly every country on earth, developing or developed, but the United States still has more obese people than any other country.
In one of the most comprehensive studies on obesity to date, which looked at data from over 180 countries over a 33-year span, and examined over 1,700 previous studies, the U.S. was found to contribute 13% to worldwide obesity — a shocking number considering it accounts for only 4.4% of the world’s population.
The U.S. still has the greatest number of obese people (78 million, or about one quarter of our population), but it isn’t the only one struggling with this health issue. As much as 50% of the adult male population is obese in Tonga and 50% of the adult female population is obese in Kuwait, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Libya, Qatar, Tonga and Samoa.
According to the study, which was published in the Lancet medical journal, the percentage of overweight or obese adults worldwide increased between 1980 and 2013 from 29% to 37% in men and from 30% percent to 38% in women. This means that, as a planet, we’re almost 40% overweight or obese.
Need one more reason to see this as a major international health issue? The report also says that in 2010, factors related to being overweight or obese were estimated to cause up to 4 million deaths worldwide.
One piece of good news: although obesity has increased in developed countries, the study found that since 2006, the rate at which adult obesity has increased in developing countries has slowed.
Unfortunately, this may mean that developing countries have yet to peak in rising rates of obesity.
For now, we know that America, and the rest of the world, have a long way to go in fully addressing this crisis.