The Institute for Health Metrics’ systematic analysis of data from 195 countries between 1980 and 2015 reaffirms that the burden of obesity – and its related diseases – has been on the rise globally, and more so than most other health risk factors. The new study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine is the largest systematic data analyses of obesity and related disease burden on a global scale. The study found that:
• Rates of obesity increased in nearly every country since 1980 and have more doubled in low and middle income countries.
• In 2015, 107.7 million children and 603.7 million adults were obese. In many countries, rates of increase were sharper in children than in adults.
• Overweight and obesity were the cause of 4 million deaths; 75% of deaths associated with overweight and obesity were from heart disease.
In response, Mike Bloomberg, WHO Global Ambassador for noncommunicable diseases said: “Today, for the first time in history, more people are dying from too much unhealthy food than they are from too little healthy food. This is a global epidemic that governments can no longer ignore, because there are many steps that they can take to tackle obesity and save lives. This study highlights the seriousness of the problem and the urgent need to act.”
The study comes at an important time when many governments are beginning to implement or are considering population-level interventions to curb obesity, including sugary drinks taxes – a policy that is proving to be effective for improving diets, an important step toward curbing overweight and obesity.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Obesity Prevention Program is addressing the global epidemic by raising public awareness of the problem and supporting policies to prevent the rise of obesity in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and South Africa. Our strategy employs a number of approaches including: support for banning advertising aimed at children for junk food and sugary beverages, raising taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, removing unhealthy food from schools and increasing consumer knowledge to understand nutrition labels. Bloomberg Philanthropies also supports efforts in the U.S.
To learn more about the Bloomberg Philanthropies Obesity Prevention Program visit Bloomberg.org