The World Health Organization has reported that for every four adults in the world who are malnourished five more are overweight, 30% of them clinically obese.
Obesity which brings in several health and economic problems could one day cripple economies. WHO says that although it is more prevalent in some countries than others, but still constitutes a global epidemic.
AdvertisementStatistics show that a billion people of the world's six billion population are presently considered overweight, compared with the 800 million who are undernourished.
On Friday a four day conference is to be held in Boston, Massachusetts on treatment and prevention of obesity, organized by the North American Society for the Study of Obesity (NAASO) for which around 2000 health experts are expected to gather in.
While less than five percent of the population in China, Japan and some African nations is obese, in some urban zones of Samoa, and 45% among certain demographic groups in the United States, notably among African Americans the number of obese exceeds 75%.
Even within China, over 20% of the people in certain cities are classified as seriously overweight.
Body-mass index (BMI) is the international standard for determining obesity which is defined as one's weight in kilograms divided by the square of one's height in meters. 30% of adults in the United States are said to be clinically obese while in Europe Britain has 23% of its adults as obese, which is nearly twice the rate in Germany (12%). Italy counts only 8% of its population as severely overweight.
Although obesity is less prevalent in European countries, the percentage has increased steadily over time. It has been found that overall some 200 million adults in the EU who are measurably overweight.
Among children too the rates of excess weight and obesity have climbed to alarming levels with an estimated 14 million overweight pre-teen youngsters in the European Union.
Health experts have noted that generally obesity rates start to climb towards epidemic levels in developing nations as the sedentary lifestyles and rich diets - laden with sugar, fats and salt - common in many Western countries take hold.
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