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One in ten adults in the world is obese

Irish men and men from the Czech Republic are the most overweight in Europe.

Image: Dan Century via Flickr

THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC has now claimed one in ten adults around the world – and Irish men are the most overweight male adults in Europe.

A new study published in respected medical journal The Lancet found that ten per cent of the world’s adult population had a BMI (body mass index) that officially categorised them as obese.

The analysis of three heart disease risk factors – obesity, cholesterol and blood pressure – were published in three papers in The Lancet today. Professor Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London, who led the research, said that many countries had in fact successfully reduced the blood pressure and cholesterol of their population despite the increase in body weight. He said:

Improved screening and treatment probably helped to lower these risk factors in high-income countries, as did using less salt and healthier, unsaturated fats.

Yet the BMI analysis shows than half a billion adults worldwide – that’s 205 million men and 297 million women – were obese in 2008. Levels of obesity have doubled since 1980.

These were some of the trends noted by study:

  • The area with the highest average BMI in the world is the Pacific Island countries.
  • The lowest BMI average was in Bangladesh (for women) and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (men).
  • In high-income countries, the US has the highest average BMI
  • Swiss women have the lowest average BMI in Europe – Turkish women and men in the Czech Republic AND IRELAND had the highest BMI in Europe.

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