A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, launched at the EAT Stockholm Food Forum on June 12th, and co-authored by EAT-Lancet Commissioners Chris Murray and Ashkan Afshin, found that two billion adults and children are suffering from health problems due to overweight.

Researchers from the University of Washington analyzed data from 68.5 million individuals worldwide, using Global Burden of Disease study data. Looking at the trend of increased overweight and obesity in 195 countries over the last 25 years, they created one the most extensive explorations to date of the long-term consequences to public and individual health of weight gain. Alarmingly, they found that:

  • Childhood obesity is increasing faster than rates for adults, though a greater proportion of adults is obese.
  • High BMI accounted for 4 million deaths in 2015, 40% of them among individuals whose BMI classified as overweight, rather than obese.
  • More than 10% of the world’s population is now obese and one third is overweight.
  • In the last 25 years, rates of obesity have doubled in at least 73 countries, an astounding statistic that points to the scale of the problem.

The paper received extensive media coverage including in The Guardian, New York Times, CNN, Science Daily, BBC and many others.

Dr Ashkan Afshin, the paper’s lead author and an assistant professor of global health at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told the Guardian: “Excess body weight is one of the most challenging public health problems of our time, affecting nearly one in every three people.”

In 2018, the EAT-Lancet Commission will present a range of dietary combinations that can promote both health and planetary sustainability, building on the work done by each of its Commissioners in their fields of expertise.

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