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1 in 10 of world’s adults obese

6 February 2011 No Comment

A new major study has revealed that the worldwide prevalence of obesity has nearly doubled since 1980.

The study looked at all available global data to assess how body mass index, blood pressure and cholesterol changed between 1980 and 2008.

In 2008, more than one in ten of the world’s adult population was obese, with women more likely to be obese than men, the study found. An estimated 205 million men and 297 million adult women were obese – a total of more than half a billion adults worldwide.

The proportion of the world’s population with high blood pressure, or uncontrolled hypertension, fell modestly between 1980 and 2008. However, because of population growth and ageing, the number of people with uncontrolled hypertension rose from 600 million in 1980 to nearly 1 billion in 2008. High-income countries achieved large reductions in uncontrolled hypertension, with the most impressive progress seen in women in Australasia and men in North America.

Average levels of total blood cholesterol fell in Western countries of North America, Australasia and Europe, but increased in East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific region.

Professor Majid Ezzati, the senior author of the study from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: “Our results show that overweight and obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are no longer Western problems or problems of wealthy nations. Their presence has shifted towards low and middle income countries, making them global problems.”

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