Obesity Affects More Than One Billion Worldwide


  • Obesity has become the most common form of malnutrition globally, surpassing one billion individuals
  • There has been increase in obesity rates among children, adolescents, and adults, with quadrupled rates in girls and boys since 1990
  • Addressing both obesity and undernutrition necessitates enhancing the availability and affordability of nutritious foods globally, emphasizing the urgency of comprehensive public health interventions

Malnutrition has witnessed a dramatic shift, with obesity now emerging as the predominant form of malnutrition worldwide. A comprehensive analysis published in The Lancet reveals that over one billion children, adolescents, and adults are grappling with obesity, marking a significant escalation from 1990. Concurrently, the prevalence of underweight individuals has dwindled, underscoring obesity’s prominence as a pressing public health concern (1 Trusted Source
Worldwide trends in underweight and obesity from 1990 to 2022: a pooled analysis of 3663 population-representative studies with 222 million children, adolescents, and adults

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Global Obesity Epidemic

According to the study conducted by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents has quadrupled since 1990, while in adults, it has more than doubled in women and nearly tripled in men. This surge has resulted in 159 million children and adolescents and a staggering 879 million adults worldwide living with obesity in 2022.

Over the same period, the proportion of underweight individuals has seen a marked decline, particularly among girls and boys. This shift underscores the dual burden of malnutrition, with both obesity and underweight posing significant health risks. Professor Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London emphasized the urgent need for improved access to healthy, nutritious foods to address this global health crisis comprehensively.

The study, which analyzed data from over 220 million individuals across 190 countries, revealed a concerning trend of escalating obesity rates in both genders and across all age groups. While the prevalence of underweight has decreased in numerous countries, obesity rates have surged, signaling a critical need for interventions to curb this epidemic.

Did You Know?

An average person makes over 200 food-related decisions each day. External factors like advertising and social norms can significantly influence these choices, potentially contributing to the global obesity epidemic.

In 2022, nearly 160 million children and adolescents were affected by obesity, representing a stark contrast to 1990 figures. Similarly, the number of adults grappling with obesity has skyrocketed, with close to 880 million individuals living with obesity in 2022, compared to 195 million in 1990.

Addressing Obesity and Malnutrition

This surge highlights the urgent need for global action to address the multifaceted challenges posed by obesity and undernutrition. While the burden of malnutrition has increased in most countries, there have been notable declines in the double burden of malnutrition in certain regions, particularly in South and Southeast Asia. These findings underscore the complex interplay between societal, economic, and environmental factors influencing nutritional outcomes and the need for tailored interventions to combat malnutrition effectively.


  1. Worldwide trends in underweight and obesity from 1990 to 2022: a pooled analysis of 3663 population-representative studies with 222 million children, adolescents, and adults – (


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