68.5 Million People in 195 Countries are FAT

The Lempert Report
August 08, 2017

Excess body weight is one of the most challenging public health problems of our time.

According to an interview in The Guardian, more than 2 billion people across the globe are now overweight. “Excess body weight is one of the most challenging public health problems of our time, affecting nearly 1 in 3 three people,” study author Ashkan Afshin tells The Guardian (U.K.). After analyzing data compiled on 68.5 million people in 195 countries, a 2,300-member research team found that obesity rates have doubled since 1980 in 73 countries. 

Today, according to Newsweek 10 percent of all people globally are considered obese—meaning their body mass index, a height-weight ratio, is 30 or above. Here in the US that includes nearly 13 percent of children in the U.S., up from 5 percent 37 years ago. 

Even when people are overweight (with a BMI between 25 and 29) but not officially obese, says researcher Azeem Majeed, that’s still associated with heart disease, cancer, and other chronic health issues. “The risk of death and diseases increases as your weight increases.” 

It’s time to look at our communications – because it is clear with all the research and knowledge we have, we still haven’t figured out how to communicate that effectively. Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Program was a great step forward, and actually showed decreases in obesity and increases in fitness and scholastic achievements throughout communities in the country. Those programs have been rolled back, so it is more important than ever for our supermarkets and their retail dietitians to step up and do all we can to insure that within the next generation we can reverse obesity and get back in shape.