Obesity is a growing problem

4 February 2011

Obesity is becoming increasingly prevalent on a global scale, according to new research published in the Lancet.

According to research conducted by scientists from Imperial College London and Harvard University, the average global body mass index (BMI) has increased since the 1980s.

In 1980, 4.8 per cent of men and 7.9 per cent of women were clinically obese. In 2008, on the other hand, 9.8 per cent of men and 13.8 per cent of women could be described as obese - i.e. with a BMI of more than 30kg/m2.

And, in the UK, the problem of obesity seems to be more marked, with the country only second to America in terms of male obesity levels.

In fact, UK males have the sixth-highest BMI in Europe and women have the ninth highest.

The research was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization.

The UK government has been attempting to tackle the growing problem of obesity in the UK with its Change4Life programme, which is supported by leading food manufacturers like Nestle, Mars and Birds Eye.

1 "National, regional, and global trends in body-mass index since 1980: systematic analysis of health examination surveys and epidemiological studies with 960 country-years and 9•1 million participants". The Lancet. Friday, February 4th 2011.

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