Number of obese individuals trumps those who are underweight

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Weight gain continues to grow as a problem as more people suffer from obesity than being underweight
By Jason Spencer | Apr 02, 2016
A common New Years resolution made every year is to start hitting the gym. By now those are usually broken, though perhaps it's time to stay true to those pledges to combat the widespread obesity across the globe.

According to, a new study shows that for the first time more people in the world are overweight than underweight. Global BMI statistics were collected and compared to those collected within the last 40 years, showing that obesity rates have risen from 105 million to 641 million.

"The world as a whole is getting heavier and it's getting heavier by about 1.5 kilograms [3.3 pounds] per decade on average for both men and women," said senior author Majid Ezzati hailing from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.

If current trends continue, nearly 1one out of five adults in the world will be obese by 2025.

"New policies that can slow down and stop the worldwide increase in body weight must be implemented quickly and rigorously evaluated, including smart food policies and improved health care training," said Ezzati in response to what needs to be done to combat obesity.

And while the numbers of underweight individuals decreased by one third, it still remains a big problem. 12-15% of men and women in southern and eastern Africa are underweight, and in southern Asia nearly a quarter do not have enough food for a healthy diet.

Professor George Davey Smith of the University of Bristol notes that while obesity remains the main concern those who are underfed cannot be forgotten.

"A focus on obesity at the expense of recognition of the substantial remaining burden of undernutrition threatens to divert resources away from disorders that affect the poor to those that are more likely to affect the wealthier in low income countries," said Smith.


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