Despite improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol rates by some countries, a study reported by the LA Times this past week found that obesity rates around the world have nearly doubled since 1980. The good news is that despite rising BMI globally, blood pressure and cholesterol rates in some countries, including the U.S. and Canada, have actually declined. From the LA Times article: overall, between 1980 and 2008, global BMI increased on average 0.4 to 0.5 kilograms (about 0.9 to 1.1 pounds) per decade for men and women. Pacific Islanders have on average the highest BMI scores in the world.
In 1980, 4.8% of men and 7.9% of women around the world were obese; in 2008 those numbers rose to 9.8% of men and 13.8% of women. That translates into more than one-tenth of the world’s adult population being obese in 2008, with the edge being given to women over men, 297 million versus 205 million, or about half a billion adults across the globe.
People in the United States have the highest BMI among high-income countries. New Zealand came in second, and Japan had the lowest BMI scores. In high-income countries such as the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and the UK, BMI rates rose the most in the years of the study. However, rates in some high-income countries–Belgium, Finland, France and Switzerland–saw almost no rise. Rates in Italy may have actually dropped for women from 1980 to 2008.
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