2.1 B people worldwide are obese or overweight

May 30, 2014

A study published in Lancet shows that almost 30% of people globally are either obese or overweight, for a total of 2.1 billion people. The researchers conducted what they called the most comprehensive assessment of obesity to date using data covering 188 nations from 1980 to 2013.

During the 33 years studied, the researchers found that rates of being obese or overweight increased 28% in adults and 47% in children. During that span, the number of overweight and obese people rose from 857 million in 1980 to 2.1 billion in 2013.

The richest country, the United States, was home to the largest proportion of the world’s obese population—13%—even though it claims less than 5% of its people. The biggest obesity rises among women came in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Honduras, and Bahrain. Among men, it was in New Zealand, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.

In addition, the researchers found that nations in the Middle East and North Africa, Central America, and the Pacific and Caribbean islands reached staggeringly high obesity rates. In the Middle East and North Africa more than 58% of adult men and 65% of adult women are overweight or obese.

More than half of the world’s obese live in just 10 countries: the United States, China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan, and Indonesia.