Obesity-Related Deaths Hit New High Worldwide

Obesity-Related Deaths Hit New High WorldwideObesity-Related Deaths Hit New High Worldwide

More people worldwide are dying from obesity-related causes than ever before, a new study indicates.

Between 1990 and 2015, the global rate of death related to high body mass index (BMI) increased by 28.3%, from 41.9 to 53.7 deaths per 100,000 people, and the rate of BMI-related disability-adjusted life-years increased by 35.8%, from 1200 to 1630 per 100,000 people.

The study by Christopher JL Murray, MD, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) program was published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine, reported

In a systematic evaluation of the health effects of high BMI, “we found that excess body weight accounted for about 4 million deaths and 120 million disability-adjusted life-years worldwide in 2015,” the authors write.

“Nearly 70% of the deaths that were related to high BMI were due to cardiovascular disease, and more than 60% occurred among obese persons.”

The increasing burden of disease parallels the substantial and widespread rise in global obesity rates over the past 3 decades and suggests that obesity continues to be a major public-health problem in both the developed and the developing world, Murray and colleagues stress.

  Increase in Obesity Across the Board

For the current report, the international consortium of GBD researchers analyzed trends in the global prevalence of overweight and obesity between 1980 and 2015 among children and adults, and evaluated patterns of BMI-associated deaths and disability-adjusted life-years according to age and sex in 195 countries from 1990 through 2015.

In 2015, an estimated 107.7 million children and 603.7 million adults worldwide met the criteria for obesity, with overall obesity prevalence of 5% and 12%, respectively, for children and adults. The prevalence among adults was higher in women than men, and the highest rate of increase in obesity between 1980 and 2015 was seen in early adulthood.

Socio-demographic factors appear to be related to obesity rates. “In general, the prevalence of obesity among both women and men increased with the increase in the SDI [socio-demographic index which is based on average income per person, educational attainment, and total fertility rate (TFR)] across all age groups,” researchers said. Similarly, among children, obesity prevalence was greater in countries with higher SDI levels; however, between 1980 and 2015, the prevalence of obesity in children in low-SDI countries increased significantly, by 20%.

The increased prevalence of obesity across levels of development “indicates that the problem is not simply a function of income or wealth,” the authors write. “Increased availability, accessibility, and affordability of energy-dense foods, along with intense marketing of such foods, could explain excess energy intake and weight gain among different populations.”

Obesity prevalence among children and adults increased consistently over the 35-year period in nearly all the countries, and more than doubled in 73 countries.

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