As the world population continues to grow and more and more people adopt a sedentary lifestyle, a new study has found that nearly half of the world's population is projected to be overweight or obese by 2035. The World Obesity Federation warns that if no action is taken, rising obesity rates will have a significant impact on the global economy.
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Published in the British medical journal The Lancet, the study used data from the World Health Organization (WHO) to analyze body mass index (BMI) trends in adults and children from 1975 to 2014. The researchers found that, by 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults (39 percent) and 41 million children (6 percent) were overweight or obese. The researchers then used the WHO data to project BMI trends to 2035. They found that, by then, nearly 2.7 billion adults (49 percent) and 74 million children (10 percent) were projected to be overweight or obese.
The authors of the study warn that the prevalence of overweight and obesity is likely to increase even further if current trends continue. The biggest increases were projected to occur in countries with the highest levels of overweight and obesity in 2014, such as the United States, Mexico, China, and India.
It is also noted that the projected rates of overweight and obesity could be even higher if current trends in dietary patterns and physical activity levels are not reversed. It is pointed out that this is especially true in low- and middle-income countries, where the rise in overweight and obesity is likely to be driven by rapid economic growth and urbanization.
The authors emphasize that it is important for governments and policy makers to take action to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity. They suggest policies that promote healthy eating and active lifestyles, such as taxation on unhealthy foods, restrictions on television advertising, and the development of public health campaigns.
Overall, the findings of this study suggest that the world is on track to become increasingly overweight and obese in the coming years. If current trends continue, the health and economic consequences of this trend could be catastrophic. It is therefore essential that governments, policy makers and private companies take action to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity and promote healthy lifestyles.