A third of people suffer from obesity

A third of people suffer from obesity

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Study: 2.1 billion people worldwide are too fat

As a new study shows, the number of overweight people worldwide has increased dramatically in recent decades. About a third of humanity is too fat. In Germany it is one in two. If you weigh too much, you increase your risk of diseases such as diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular disease.

Share of overweight people worldwide has increased Around a third of people worldwide are too fat. According to a current report, more than half of adults across Germany are overweight, with men particularly affected. Accordingly, 49 percent of women and 64 percent of men in Germany weigh too much. As the researchers report in the journal "The Lancet", "the proportion of overweight people has increased significantly worldwide". In the study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the scientists compared the data on obesity and obesity from 188 countries from 1980 and 2013.

Germany is among the top ten According to the researchers led by Marie Ng from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, 2.1 billion people weighed too much in 2013. In 1980 there were still 857 million. The increase cannot be explained by the population growth alone. The proportion of fat people has increased in both developed and developing countries, with more men affected in industrialized nations and more women in poor countries. As the researchers report, more than half of the particularly overweight people live in ten countries. These include the USA, China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia and Germany. In relation to the population, the two South Sea nations Tonga and Samoa are among the top places for both the men and women of the overweight.

Being overweight increases the risk of disease In their study, the scientists used the so-called body mass index (BMI) as a criterion for being overweight. This is derived from the height and weight of a person. The weight in kilograms is divided by the square of the size (meters). Obesity is considered to be overweight if you have a BMI over 25 and a BMI over 30. With increasing weight, the risks for diseases such as diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure or heart attack increase. "Obesity is a problem that affects people of all ages and incomes - everywhere," said IHME director Christopher Murray. Most of the 671 million people who have a BMI of 30 or above live in the United States. However, the largest increase in obesity has been in the Middle East in the past three decades, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

A worrying increase in children and adolescents Emmanuela Gakidou of the University of Washington said: "Our data shows a significant and extensive increase in a short period of time." However, it is worrying that more and more children and adolescents are overweight or obese. "We know that childhood obesity has serious health effects, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many forms of cancer," says author Marie Ng. According to the study, about one in five children, adolescents and young adults in Germany are overweight and around every twentieth is even obese. The proportion of Germans with a BMI that is too high is even greater among those over 20 years of age. According to the study, 64 percent of these men and 49 percent of these women in Germany are overweight.

Politics called for action In addition to improper nutrition and insufficient exercise, the causes of obesity and obesity include certain medications, stress, lack of sleep and genetic predispositions. The scientists appeal to politicians to take care of the problems. Klim McPherson of Oxford University, who acknowledges the work of Marie Ng and colleagues in an accompanying commentary on the study, also calls on politicians to do more to combat the growing problem of obesity. In Germany, too, experts would like more government involvement. Since appeals to reason have failed, the German Diabetes Society (DDG), for example, is demanding a sugar-fat tax against obesity. This could also be a suggestion for the food industry to change their recipes and, for example, to use less sugar. (sb)

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