While many people think that being diagnosed as clinically obese is when you have to start worrying about the health implications of being overweight, the reality is much more sobering.
A global study, Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries over 25 Years has found that of the 4 million deaths in 2015 attributed to people being overweight, almost 40 per cent were not considered clinically obese.
Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the paper highlighted a “growing and disturbing public health crisis”, with more than 2 billion children and adults suffering from health problems that could be linked to being overweight. Such diseases include type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, and were present in a growing number who actually had a body mass index lower than 30 – above which you are considered obese.
The study looked at result from over 195 countries and territories from 1980 to 2015. Of the 30 per cent who were classed as being affected by excess weight 108 million children and 600 million adults were classed as obese.
Since 1980, obesity rates have doubled in more than 70 countries, of which, perhaps surprisingly, Egypt tops the list, with 35 per cent of adults classed as obese. What is most worrying is that despite continued warnings about the risk of excess weight on health, the rate of obesity is increasing faster among children than adults. And no, it’s not the US that is leading the way, rather the developing nations of China 15.3 million and India with 14.4 million.