Obesity Is A Global Problem


GENEVA (ASRN.ORG) - According to World Health Organization (WHO) obesity is a global problem. WHO defines "overweight" as a BMI equal to or more than 25, and "obesity" as a BMI equal to or more than 30. These cut-off points provide a benchmark for individual assessment, but there is evidence that risk of chronic disease in population increases progressively from a BMI of 21.

WHO's most recent statistics show that globally:

Approximately 1.6 billion adults (age 15+) are overweight.

At least 400 million adults are obese. 

WHO further projects that by 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.

At least 20 million children under the age of 5 years are overweight globally.

Once considered a problem only in high-income countries, overweight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. 

WHO states that the common health consequences of being overweight and obese are:

-Cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke) - already the world's number one cause of death, killing 17 million people each year.

-Diabetes – which has rapidly become a global epidemic. WHO projects that diabetes-related deaths will increase by more than 50% worldwide in the next 10 years.

-Musculoskeletal disorders – especially osteoarthritis.

-Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon).

Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of premature death and disability in adulthood.

Many low- and middle-income countries are now facing a "double burden" of disease:

-While they continue to deal with the problems of infectious disease and under-nutrition, at the same time they are experiencing a rapid upsurge in chronic disease risk factors such as obesity and overweight, particularly in urban settings.

-It is not uncommon to find under-nutrition and obesity existing side-by-side within the same country, the same community and even within the same household.

-This double burden is caused by inadequate pre-natal, infant and young child nutrition followed by exposure to high-fat, energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods and lack of physical activity.


Articles in this issue:


  • Masthead

    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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