Obesity on the Rise: Some Sobering Facts

Obesity is on the rise and it can carry serious health consequences with it. Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.


Obesity and being overweight are linked to more deaths worldwide than being underweight. Globally, more people are obese than underweight—except for parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.


Here are some facts on the epidemic:

Obesity on the Rise: Some Sobering Facts   ©The Earth & I
  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight. 650 million of them were obese.

  • 39% of adults were overweight in 2016, and 13% of adults were obese.

  • Most people live in countries where obesity and being overweight kills more people than being underweight.

  • 39 million children under 5 years of age were overweight or obese in 2020.

  • More than 340 million children and adolescents aged 5 to 19 were overweight or obese in 2016.

  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight. Of these over 650 million adults were obese.

  • In 2016, 39% of adults (39% of men and 40% of women) were overweight.

  • About 13% of the world’s adult population (11% of men and 15% of women) were obese in 2016.

  • In Africa, the number of overweight children under 5 has increased by nearly 24% percent since 2000. Almost half of the children under 5 who were overweight or obese in 2019 lived in Asia.

– Source: WHO


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