One in three of the global population are overweight and many are dying unnecessarily from health problems related to their obesity, says a new study.
More than 2.2 billion people are carrying too much weight or obese, says the World Health Organisation.(WHO).
Death rates from conditions blamed on weight problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer soared by 28% in 2015, the last year figures were made available.
The WHO explained 4 million people died from these conditions which could have been avoided if they better controlled their weight.
“People who shrug off weight gain do so at their own risk,” said Christopher Murray, one of the report authors.
108 million overweight children
The research found 108 million children and 600 million adults across every country in the world were considered obese because they had a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.
Almost two thirds of deaths related to conditions contracted because they were overweight were attributed to these obese people.
The WHO says obesity has increased by more than 200% since 1980 and is becoming an epidemic faced by health organisations.
Some countries have a worse problem than others – with people in Jordan, Algeria and Turkey putting on more weight than others.
Bad diets containing too much sugar, fats and salt and a lack of exercise were blamed for the problem.
More people overweight than starving
Ironically, some poor countries where people have switched from vegetable diets to processed food have the fastest growing obesity rates.
The report also points out that in many countries, the cost of fresh food has increased while the price of processed food has gone down, encouraging people to eat burgers, ice cream, chips and chocolate rather than fruit or vegetables.
“Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.,” says the WHO. ” And obesity is preventable.”
“Globally there are more people who are obese than underweight – this occurs in every region except parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
“The cause is consuming more calories than the body uses.
“Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood. But in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological effects.”