Obesity affects one in 10 adults around the world

10% of the world’s adults are now obese, according to a joint UK-US study published in The Lancet

Imperial College London and Harvard researchers studied body mass index (BMI), cholesterol and high blood pressure data from 1980 to 2008. High blood pressure and cholesterol fell in many developed countries while obesity generally rose worldwide.

Men in the UK have the sixth highest BMI in Europe while UK women have the ninth highest BMI in Europe. Obesity, cholesterol and high blood pressure are all risk factors for heart disease.

In 2008, 9.8% of men and 13.8% of women in the world were obese – they had a BMI above 30kg/m2. This is compared with 4.8% for men and 7.9% for women in 1980.

In common with the rest of the world, BMI rose among most high-income countries. Among those countries, BMI rose the most in the USA between 1980 and 2008, followed by New Zealand and Australia for women and the UK and Australia for men.

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