Speed Reads


A third of the world is overweight


A new study has data on the world's obesity epidemic, and the results are alarming. Nearly a third of the world's population — 2.1 billion people — is overweight or obese, and the numbers are on the rise.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Washington and published in medical journal The Lancet, found that since 1980, the number of overweight and obese children has increased by almost 50 percent. Even more troubling, not one country on the planet has been able to reduce obesity rates in the last 33 years.

However, the problem is far from evenly distributed. More than half of the 671 million obese people worldwide live in just 10 countries (with the U.S. at the top of the list). Increases in adult obesity were also greater in high-income countries, particularly the U.S., Australia, and the U.K.

"Being overweight or even obese is a growing, unchecked problem," Dr. Ali Mokdad, a global health professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said in a statement. "We are looking at a major public health epidemic that must be stopped."