Global Health Observatory (GHO) data

Overweight and obesity

Adults aged 18+

Overweight and obesity lead to adverse metabolic effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin resistance. Risks of coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke and type 2 diabetes mellitus increase steadily with increasing body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height. Raised body mass index also increases the risk of cancer of the breast, colon, prostate, endometrium, kidney and gall bladder. Mortality rates increase with increasing degrees of overweight, as measured by body mass index. To achieve optimum health, the median body mass index for an adult population should be in the range of 21 to 23 kg/m2, while the goal for individuals should be to maintain body mass index in the range 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2. There is increased risk of co-morbidities for body mass index 25.0 to 29.9, and moderate to severe risk of co-morbidities for body mass index 30 or greater.

In 2016, 39% men and 39% of women aged 18+ were overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) and 11% of men and 15% of women were obese (BMI ≥30 kg/m2). Thus, nearly 2 billion adults worldwide were overweight and, of these, more than half a billion were obese. Both overweight and obesity have shown a marked increase over the past 4 decades. Obesity rates in men have risen from around 3% in 1975 and in women from just over 6% in 1975 while overweight has risen over this same time period from 20% in men and from just under 23% in women.