One in Ten Adults Obese

Added by on February 5, 2011

Obesity is gaining ground around the world as one in ten adults are now obese, according to a joint UK-US study.

Researchers at Imperial College London and Harvard used data on body mass index (BMI), cholesterol and high blood pressure collected between 1980 and 2008 to study obesity rates around the world.

In 1980, 4.8% of men and 7.9% of women around the world were obese. In 2008, the number has increased to 9.8% of men and 13.8% of women.

The results, published in the Lancet, showed that BMI has risen sharply among high-income countries. US experienced the highest increase, followed by the UK and Australia for men, and New Zealand and Australia for women.

British men have the sixth highest BMI in Europe, and British women the ninth highest. Pacific Islands top the BMI scale at 34-35kg/m2. This represents a value some 70% higher that that reported for south-east Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

In contrast, many developed countries have managed to reduce both high blood pressure and cholesterol. “Improved screening and treatment probably helped to lower these risk factors in high-income countries, as did using less salt and healthier, unsaturated fats,” said lead author of the study, Professor Majid Ezzati.

Blood pressure was reported highest in the Baltic and the West African countries.

Obesity, cholesterol and high blood pressure are all risk factors for heart disease.

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