Obesity in the World

From WikiMD's Wellnesspedia

Obesity
Other namesOverweight, Excessive weight, Adiposity
World map highlighting countries with high obesity rates
Worldwide obesity prevalence, with countries in darker shades having higher rates.
SpecialtyEndocrinology, nutrition, psychology
ComplicationsType 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, obstructive sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, fatty liver disease, mental health issues
TreatmentDiet, exercise, behavioral therapy, medications, bariatric surgery
Obesity collage

Obesity is a global medical condition characterized by an excessive accumulation of body fat. It is a complex issue influenced by various factors, including genetics, environment, and lifestyle. This article provides a detailed overview of obesity worldwide, its common causes, and some of the worst-affected countries.

Global Obesity Statistics[edit | edit source]

Worldwide obesity has become a significant public health concern, with a steady increase in the prevalence of overweight and obese individuals over the decades. The following statistics highlight the alarming rise in obesity rates:

Nearly Tripled Since 1975[edit | edit source]

The prevalence of obesity worldwide has nearly tripled since 1975. This dramatic increase is a cause for global concern, as it indicates a growing health crisis affecting people of all ages.

Over 1.9 Billion Adults Overweight in 2016[edit | edit source]

In the year 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were classified as overweight. This staggering number represents a substantial portion of the global adult population facing issues related to excessive body weight.

Over 650 Million Obese in 2016[edit | edit source]

Among the overweight adults in 2016, a subset of over 650 million individuals were categorized as obese. Obesity, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, is associated with a higher risk of various health conditions and complications.

39% of Adults Over 18 Were Overweight in 2016[edit | edit source]

The statistics reveal that in 2016, approximately 39% of adults aged 18 years and over worldwide were classified as overweight. This means that nearly two-fifths of the adult population faced the challenges and health risks associated with excess body weight.

13% of Adults Over 18 Were Obese in 2016[edit | edit source]

In the same year, 2016, approximately 13% of adults aged 18 years and over were considered obese. This significant percentage indicates that a substantial portion of the global adult population had reached a level of obesity associated with severe health implications.

Causes of Obesity[edit | edit source]

Obesity can result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Some common causes and contributing factors to weight gain and obesity include:

Insulin resistance[edit | edit source]

Doençararapele

Insulin resistance is a metabolic condition in which the body's cells become less responsive to insulin. This can lead to elevated blood sugar levels and increased fat storage, contributing to obesity and the development of type 2 diabetes.

Physical Inactivity[edit | edit source]

Lack of physical activity and sedentary lifestyles are major contributors to obesity. A lack of exercise can lead to an imbalance between calorie intake and expenditure, resulting in weight gain.

Stress[edit | edit source]

Chronic stress can trigger overeating and unhealthy eating habits as a coping mechanism. Stress hormones like cortisol may also contribute to fat storage, particularly around the abdominal area.

Obesity

Eating Habits[edit | edit source]

Unhealthy eating habits, including the consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, large portion sizes, and frequent snacking on sugary or fatty foods, can lead to obesity.

Genetics[edit | edit source]

Genetic factors play a role in an individual's susceptibility to obesity. Some people may have a genetic predisposition that makes it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight.

Environment[edit | edit source]

Environmental factors, such as easy access to unhealthy food options, food marketing, and socioeconomic status, can influence dietary choices and contribute to obesity.

Obesity in various countries[edit | edit source]

Obesity is a global health concern that affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. The prevalence of obesity has been steadily increasing worldwide. Some of the worst-affected countries include:

Obesity statistics USA from CDC

United States[edit | edit source]

The United States has one of the highest obesity rates in the world, with a significant portion of the population being overweight or obese. See obesity in United States

Mexico[edit | edit source]

Mexico consistently ranks among the countries with the highest obesity rates, driven in part by dietary habits and lifestyle factors.

Egypt[edit | edit source]

Obesity is a growing concern in Egypt, with rising rates among both adults and children.

United Kingdom[edit | edit source]

The United Kingdom faces increasing obesity rates, leading to various health issues and strains on the healthcare system.

Australia[edit | edit source]

Australia has also seen a rise in obesity rates, prompting public health initiatives to combat the issue.

Rethinking Our Dietary Approach

Shifting focus from individual blame to understanding the complexities of obesity is crucial. A key factor is insulin resistance, impacting up to 71% of the population, with 35% experiencing metabolic syndrome.

Navigating Misinformation

The overwhelming presence of over 20,000 books and mixed messages on obesity medicine calls for guidance from experts like Dr Prab R. Tumpati, MD, who can provide clarity on the science and practice of this field.

The Downfall of the Food Guide Pyramid

The outdated and ineffective food guide pyramid, promoting a low-fat but high-glycemic diet, significantly contributed to increased insulin resistance and, consequently, weight gain.

Insulin resistance and weight gain

Insulin resistance is a physiological condition where the body's cells become less responsive to the hormone insulin. As insulin not only controls the blood sugar, it also controls the weight! Reducing the overall carbohydrate load and insulin levels is a key underlying concept in many low carbohydrate diets such as the ketogenic diet.

The Blame Game in Obesity

Understanding metabolic starvation

Weight gain isn't typically intentional. It often stems from the paradox of metabolic starvation in the obese, driven by insulin resistance and resulting in heightened insulin levels. This leads to persistent hunger, cravings, and further weight gain. Stop blaming the victim for obesity!

Treatment and Prevention[edit | edit source]

Obesity is a complex condition that requires a multidisciplinary approach to treatment and prevention. Strategies include:

Prevention efforts focus on promoting healthy eating, physical activity, and awareness of the consequences of obesity.

Country Adult obesity rate Year Ranking Region
Nauru 61 2016 1 Australia and Oceania
Cook Islands 55.9 2016 2 Australia and Oceania
Palau 55.3 2016 3 Australia and Oceania
Marshall Islands 52.9 2016 4 Australia and Oceania
Tuvalu 51.6 2016 5 Australia and Oceania
Niue 50 2016 6 Australia and Oceania
Tonga 48.2 2016 7 Australia and Oceania
Samoa 47.3 2016 8 Australia and Oceania
Kiribati 46 2016 9 Australia and Oceania
Micronesia, Federated States of 45.8 2016 10 Australia and Oceania
Kuwait 37.9 2016 11 Middle East
United States 36.2 2016 12 North America
Jordan 35.5 2016 13 Middle East
Saudi Arabia 35.4 2016 14 Middle East
Qatar 35.1 2016 15 Middle East
Libya 32.5 2016 16 Africa
Turkey (Turkiye) 32.1 2016 17 Middle East
Lebanon 32 2016 18 Middle East
Egypt 32 2016 19 Africa
United Arab Emirates 31.7 2016 20 Middle East
Bahamas, The 31.6 2016 21 Central America and the Caribbean
New Zealand 30.8 2016 22 Australia and Oceania
Iraq 30.4 2016 23 Middle East
Fiji 30.2 2016 24 Australia and Oceania
Bahrain 29.8 2016 25 Middle East
Canada 29.4 2016 26 North America
Australia 29 2016 27 Australia and Oceania
Mexico 28.9 2016 28 North America
Malta 28.9 2016 29 Europe
South Africa 28.3 2016 30 Africa
Argentina 28.3 2016 31 South America
Chile 28 2016 32 South America
Uruguay 27.9 2016 33 South America
Dominica 27.9 2016 34 Central America and the Caribbean
Syria 27.8 2016 35 Middle East
United Kingdom 27.8 2016 36 Europe
Dominican Republic 27.6 2016 37 Central America and the Caribbean
Algeria 27.4 2016 38 Africa
Oman 27 2016 39 Middle East
Tunisia 26.9 2016 40 Africa
Suriname 26.4 2016 41 South America
Hungary 26.4 2016 42 Europe
Lithuania 26.3 2016 43 Europe
Morocco 26.1 2016 44 Africa
Israel 26.1 2016 45 Middle East
Czechia 26 2016 46 Europe
Iran 25.8 2016 47 Middle East
Costa Rica 25.7 2016 48 Central America and the Caribbean
Venezuela 25.6 2016 49 South America
Andorra 25.6 2016 50 Europe
Ireland 25.3 2016 51 Europe
Vanuatu 25.2 2016 52 Australia and Oceania
Bulgaria 25 2016 53 Europe
Greece 24.9 2016 54 Europe
Jamaica 24.7 2016 55 Central America and the Caribbean
Cuba 24.6 2016 56 Central America and the Caribbean
El Salvador 24.6 2016 57 Central America and the Caribbean
Belarus 24.5 2016 58 Europe
Croatia 24.4 2016 59 Europe
Belize 24.1 2016 60 Central America and the Caribbean
Ukraine 24.1 2016 61 Europe
Spain 23.8 2016 62 Europe
Nicaragua 23.7 2016 63 Central America and the Caribbean
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 23.7 2016 64 Central America and the Caribbean
Latvia 23.6 2016 65 Europe
Montenegro 23.3 2016 66 Europe
Norway 23.1 2016 67 Europe
Poland 23.1 2016 68 Europe
Barbados 23.1 2016 69 Central America and the Caribbean
Russia 23.1 2016 70 Central Asia
Saint Kitts and Nevis 22.9 2016 71 Central America and the Caribbean
Haiti 22.7 2016 72 Central America and the Caribbean
Panama 22.7 2016 73 Central America and the Caribbean
Luxembourg 22.6 2016 74 Europe
Solomon Islands 22.5 2016 75 Australia and Oceania
Romania 22.5 2016 76 Europe
North Macedonia 22.4 2016 77 Europe
Colombia 22.3 2016 78 South America
Germany 22.3 2016 79 Europe
Finland 22.2 2016 80 Europe
Brazil 22.1 2016 81 South America
Belgium 22.1 2016 82 Europe
Iceland 21.9 2016 83 Europe
Cyprus 21.8 2016 84 Europe
Georgia 21.7 2016 85 Middle East
Albania 21.7 2016 86 Europe
France 21.6 2016 87 Europe
Serbia 21.5 2016 88 Europe
Honduras 21.4 2016 89 Central America and the Caribbean
Papua New Guinea 21.3 2016 90 East and Southeast Asia
Grenada 21.3 2016 91 Central America and the Caribbean
Guatemala 21.2 2016 92 Central America and the Caribbean
Estonia 21.2 2016 93 Europe
Kazakhstan 21 2016 94 Central Asia
Portugal 20.8 2016 95 Europe
Sweden 20.6 2016 96 Europe
Mongolia 20.6 2016 97 East and Southeast Asia
Slovakia 20.5 2016 98 Europe
Netherlands 20.4 2016 99 Europe
Paraguay 20.3 2016 100 South America
Armenia 20.2 2016 101 Middle East
Guyana 20.2 2016 102 South America
Bolivia 20.2 2016 103 South America
Slovenia 20.2 2016 104 Europe
Austria 20.1 2016 105 Europe
Ecuador 19.9 2016 106 South America
Azerbaijan 19.9 2016 107 Middle East
Italy 19.9 2016 108 Europe
Denmark 19.7 2016 109 Europe
Peru 19.7 2016 110 South America
Saint Lucia 19.7 2016 111 Central America and the Caribbean
Switzerland 19.5 2016 112 Europe
Moldova 18.9 2016 113 Europe
Botswana 18.9 2016 114 Africa
Antigua and Barbuda 18.9 2016 115 Central America and the Caribbean
Turkmenistan 18.6 2016 116 Central Asia
Trinidad and Tobago 18.6 2016 117 Central America and the Caribbean
Bosnia and Herzegovina 17.9 2016 118 Europe
Namibia 17.2 2016 119 Africa
Yemen 17.1 2016 120 Middle East
Lesotho 16.6 2016 121 Africa
Kyrgyzstan 16.6 2016 122 Central Asia
Uzbekistan 16.6 2016 123 Central Asia
Eswatini 16.5 2016 124 Africa
Malaysia 15.6 2016 125 East and Southeast Asia
Zimbabwe 15.5 2016 126 Africa
Gabon 15 2016 127 Africa
Tajikistan 14.2 2016 128 Central Asia
Brunei 14.1 2016 129 East and Southeast Asia
Seychelles 14 2016 130 Africa
Djibouti 13.5 2016 131 Africa
Mauritania 12.7 2016 132 Africa
Sao Tome and Principe 12.4 2016 133 Africa
Cabo Verde 11.8 2016 134 Africa
Cameroon 11.4 2016 135 Africa
Ghana 10.9 2016 136 Africa
Mauritius 10.8 2016 137 Africa
Gambia, The 10.3 2016 138 Africa
Cote d'Ivoire 10.3 2016 139 Africa
Thailand 10 2016 140 East and Southeast Asia
Liberia 9.9 2016 141 Africa
Benin 9.6 2016 142 Africa
Congo, Republic of the 9.6 2016 143 Africa
Guinea-Bissau 9.5 2016 144 Africa
Nigeria 8.9 2016 145 Africa
Senegal 8.8 2016 146 Africa
Sierra Leone 8.7 2016 147 Africa
Pakistan 8.6 2016 148 South Asia
Maldives 8.6 2016 149 South Asia
Mali 8.6 2016 150 Africa
Togo 8.4 2016 151 Africa
Tanzania 8.4 2016 152 Africa
Somalia 8.3 2016 153 Africa
Angola 8.2 2016 154 Africa
Zambia 8.1 2016 155 Africa
Equatorial Guinea 8 2016 156 Africa
Comoros 7.8 2016 157 Africa
Guinea 7.7 2016 158 Africa
Central African Republic 7.5 2016 159 Africa
Mozambique 7.2 2016 160 Africa
Kenya 7.1 2016 161 Africa
Indonesia 6.9 2016 162 East and Southeast Asia
Korea, North 6.8 2016 163 East and Southeast Asia
Congo, Democratic Republic of the 6.7 2016 164 Africa
Sudan 6.6 2014 165 Africa
South Sudan 6.6 2014 166 Africa
Philippines 6.4 2016 167 East and Southeast Asia
Bhutan 6.4 2016 168 South Asia
China 6.2 2016 169 East and Southeast Asia
Singapore 6.1 2016 170 East and Southeast Asia
Chad 6.1 2016 171 Africa
Rwanda 5.8 2016 172 Africa
Burma 5.8 2016 173 East and Southeast Asia
Malawi 5.8 2016 174 Africa
Burkina Faso 5.6 2016 175 Africa
Niger 5.5 2016 176 Africa
Afghanistan 5.5 2016 177 South Asia
Burundi 5.4 2016 178 Africa
Laos 5.3 2016 179 East and Southeast Asia
Uganda 5.3 2016 180 Africa
Madagascar 5.3 2016 181 Africa
Sri Lanka 5.2 2016 182 South Asia
Eritrea 5 2016 183 Africa
Korea, South 4.7 2016 184 East and Southeast Asia
Ethiopia 4.5 2016 185 Africa
Japan 4.3 2016 186 East and Southeast Asia
Nepal 4.1 2016 187 South Asia
Cambodia 3.9 2016 188 East and Southeast Asia
India 3.9 2016 189 South Asia
Timor-Leste 3.8 2016 190 East and Southeast Asia
Bangladesh 3.6 2016 191 South Asia
Vietnam 2.1 2016 192 East and Southeast Asia

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Obesity is a global health challenge with multifaceted causes, including insulin resistance, physical inactivity, stress, eating habits, and genetics. Several countries are experiencing high obesity rates, which have significant health and economic implications. Efforts to combat obesity through education, lifestyle changes, and medical interventions remain critical to improving public health worldwide.

For more information on obesity in specific countries, please refer to the respective articles, such as Obesity in the United States, Obesity in Mexico, Obesity in Egypt, Obesity in the United Kingdom, and Obesity in Australia, see links on the page for each country.

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD