WHO/Yoshi Shimizu
                                Early morning exercise in the Rizal Park in Manila city, Philippines.
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                                Obesity

                                  Overview

                                  Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A body mass index (BMI) over 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese. The issue has grown to epidemic proportions, with over 4 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese in 2017 according to the global burden of disease. 

                                  Rates of overweight and obesity continue to grow in adults and children. From 1975 to 2016, the prevalence of overweight or obese children and adolescents aged 5–19 years increased more than four-fold from 4% to 18% globally.

                                  Obesity is one side of the double burden of malnutrition, and today more people are obese than underweight in every region except sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Once considered a problem only in high-income countries, overweight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. The vast majority of overweight or obese children live in developing countries, where the rate of increase has been more than 30% higher than that of developed countries

                                  Complications

                                  Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death worldwide. Being overweight can also lead to diabetes and its associated conditions, including blindness, limb amputations, and the need for dialysis. Rates of diabetes have quadrupled since around the world since 1980. Carrying excess weight can lead to musculoskeletal disorders including osteoarthritis. Obesity is also associated with some cancers, including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney and colon. The risk of these noncommunicable diseases increases even when a person is only slightly overweight and grows more serious as the body mass index (BMI) climbs.

                                  Obesity in childhood is associated with a wide range of serious health complications and an increased risk of premature onset of related illnesses. Studies have found that without intervention, children and adolescents with obesity will likely continue to be obese into adulthood.

                                  Prevention and Control

                                  Many of the causes of overweight and obesity are preventable and reversable. However, no country has yet to reverse the growth of this epidemic. Although other factors are involved, the fundamental cause of obesity is an imbalance of calories consumed and calories expended. As global diets have changed in recent decades, there has been an increase in the consumption of energy-dense foods high in fat and free sugars. There has also been a decrease in physical activity due to the changing nature of many types of work, more access to transportation and increased urbanization.

                                  Lowering the risk of overweight and obesity includes reducing the number of calories consumed from fats and sugars, increasing the portion of daily intake of fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts, and engaging in regular physical activity (60 minutes per day for children and 150 minutes per week for adults). In babies, studies have shown that exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months of age reduces the risk of infants becoming overweight or obese.

                                  1.9 billion

                                  adults worldwide

                                  were overweight in 2016, with 650 million obese

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                                  39%

                                  of adults

                                  were overweight in 2016 and 13% were obese

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                                  38.3 million

                                  children under 5

                                  were overweight or obese in 2019

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                                  Publications

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                                  Levels and trends in child malnutrition: UNICEF/WHO/The World Bank Group joint child malnutrition estimates: key findings of the 2021 edition

                                  Child malnutrition estimates for the indicators stunting, wasting, overweight and underweight describe the magnitude and patterns of under- and overnutrition....

                                  Assessing the existing evidence base on school food and nutrition policies: a scoping review

                                  This report presents the outcomes of a scoping review conducted to identify and map existing evidence on the effects of school food and nutrition policies...

                                  The double burden of malnutrition: priority actions on ending childhood obesity

                                  Despite the rising prevalence of  overweight and obesity in children,  responses in addressing the problem range are inadequate in many countries...

                                  Levels and trends in child malnutrition: UNICEF/WHO/The World Bank Group joint child malnutrition estimates: key findings of the 2020 edition

                                  The inter-agency team released new joint estimates for child stunting, overweight, underweight, wasting and severe wasting (March 2020 edition) using the...

                                  Nutrition in universal health coverage

                                  This brief provides the reader with information and key messages to transform health systems towards the integration of essential nutrition actions...

                                  Nutrition Landscape Information System (??NLiS)?? country profile indicators: interpretation guide, 2nd edition

                                  The Nutrition Landscape Information System (NLiS) was originally developed as part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Landscape Analysis...

                                  Strengthening quality midwifery education for Universal Health Coverage 2030: Framework for action

                                  The Framework for Action to Strengthen Midwifery Education is a guide to develop high-quality, sustainable pre- and in-service midwifery education...

                                  Levels and trends in child malnutrition: UNICEF/WHO/The World Bank Group joint child malnutrition estimates: key findings of the 2019 edition

                                  The inter-agency team released new joint estimates for child stunting, overweight, underweight, wasting and severe wasting (March 2019 edition) using the...

                                  Documents

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                                  Draft recommendations for the prevention and management of obesity over the life course, including potential targets_Thumbnail

                                  Apply multisectoral and impacting actions and strategies at the different levels of the obesity causal chain as prevention and management of obesity can...

                                  state-food-security-nutrition-2019-cov-en

                                  This year’s report presents evidence that the absolute number of people who suffer from hunger continues to slowly increase. The report also highlights...

                                  Joint malnutrition estimate 2017 edition publication cover

                                  The inter-agency team released new joint estimates for child stunting, overweight, underweight, wasting and severe wasting (May 2017 edition) using the...

                                  joint malnutrition estimate 2016 edition publication cover

                                  In September 2016 the inter-agency team released new joint estimates of child stunting, overweight, underweight, wasting and severe wasting (2016 edition)....