Nearly 30% of world population is overweight: study

November 20, 2014
Credit: Peter Häger/Public Domain

More than 2.1 billion people globally—or nearly 30 percent of the world's population—are now overweight or obese, with the figure set to rise further by 2030, according to a study published Thursday.

Obesity is now blamed for around 5 percent of all deaths worldwide and has a similar negative effect on the global economy to smoking and , according to the report by consultants McKinsey Global Institute.

The study predicted that almost half of the world's adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030.

It called for a "coordinated response" from governments, retailers and food and drink manufacturers, arguing that targeted action could bring 20 percent of back to normal weight within a decade.

"Obesity is a major global economic problem caused by a multitude of factors," it said.

"Today obesity is jostling with armed conflict and smoking in terms of having the greatest human-generated global economic impact."

The report identified 74 interventions that it argued will help tighten waistlines around the world.

Recommendations include limiting the size of portions in packaged fast food, parental education and introducing healthy meals in schools and workplaces.

According to the report, obesity now costs the $2 trillion in healthcare and lost productivity—or 2.8 percent of global GDP—$100 billion less than both smoking and armed conflict.

Britain provided the report's main case study, and was found to have three percent of its GDP wiped off each year due to obesity, the biggest drag on the country's economy after smoking.

The combined annual cost of obesity-linked healthcare and lost output reaches £47 billion ($73.8 billion, 58.7 billion euros).

A person is considered obese if they have a (BMI), which divides your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared, above 25.

Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, called obesity a complex problem that required "action across individual and societal levels involving industry, national and local government and the voluntary sector.

"Today 25 percent of the nation is obese and 37 percent is overweight," she added.

"If we reduce obesity to 1993 levels, where 15 percent of the population were obese, we will avoid five million disease cases and save the NHS alone an additional £1.2 billion by 2034."

McKinsey plans to carry out emerging world case studies in China and Mexico, but believes its recommendations will be applicable worldwide.

The report concluded that drastic action was needed "as is now reaching crisis proportions".

Explore further: Report: Global obesity costs hits $2 trillion

Related Stories

Report: Global obesity costs hits $2 trillion

November 20, 2014
The global cost of obesity has risen to $2 trillion annually—nearly as much as smoking or the combined impact of armed violence, war and terrorism, according to a new report released Thursday.

Obesity costs more than $8 bn in lost US productivity

November 15, 2014
Obesity among workers in the United States is costing the nation $8.65 billion a year in lost productivity, according to a study released Friday.

Majority of people—including health professionals—struggle to identify obesity

November 11, 2014
The majority of people - including healthcare professionals - are unable to visually identify whether a person is a healthy weight, overweight or obese according to research by psychologists at the University of Liverpool.

Financial crisis spurred obesity: OECD

May 27, 2014
The 2008 financial crisis spurred obesity's spread in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's 34 member countries—most of whose inhabitants are overweight, an OECD report said Tuesday.

Report reveals nearly 31 percent of Hoosiers obese, ranking Indiana as eighth worst

October 16, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Nearly 31 percent of the adult population of Indiana reports being obese, ranking the state eighth worst nationally in terms of percentage of population severely overweight, says a new study by Ball State ...

Adult obesity in US 'unacceptably high,' report finds

September 4, 2014
Poor eating and exercise habits have kept obesity rates high in the United States, said a report Thursday that found increases in six states and no decreases across the nation.

Recommended for you

Obesity trigger identified within the human gut

March 22, 2018
The key chemical for happiness and sadness, serotonin, is also a force in our body's weight gain and calorie control, and scientists say more research could reduce obesity rates.

How obesity dulls the sense of taste

March 20, 2018
Previous studies have indicated that weight gain can reduce one's sensitivity to the taste of food, and that this effect can be reversed when the weight is lost again, but it's been unclear as to how this phenomenon arises. ...

High-energy breakfast promotes weight loss

March 18, 2018
In patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes, a meal schedule that includes a high-energy breakfast promotes weight loss, improves diabetes and decreases the need for insulin, new research from Israel reports. The study results ...

Early puberty linked with increased risk of obesity for women

March 15, 2018
Girls who start puberty earlier are more likely to be overweight as adults, finds new research from Imperial College London.

New link between gut bacteria and obesity

February 26, 2018
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have discovered a new link between gut bacteria and obesity. They found that certain amino acids in the blood are connected to obesity and the composition of the gut microbiome.

Instead of nagging your spouse to lose weight, try going on a diet yourself

February 22, 2018
Tired of nagging your spouse to lose a few pounds? You might get better results by going on a diet yourself.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.