Obesity rates have doubled since 1980 – and some other interesting data

One important aspect of brain health is to keep fit and at a healthy weight. However, over the last several decades people in the developed nations have been packing on the weight. This will have an adverse outcome on your general brain health – including dementia, and other neurodegenerative brain diseases.

A series of papers were released in the Lancet journal on obesity, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Escience news does a good job at summarizing the results including telling us worldwide obesity rates have doubled since 1980.

I found some of these specific body mass index (BMI) results quite interesting:

 

  • In 2008, 9.8 per cent of men and 13.8 per cent of women in the world were obese (with a BMI above 30 kg/m2), compared with 4.8 per cent for men and 7.9 per cent for women in 1980.

  • Pacific island nations have the highest average BMI in the world, reaching 34-35 kg/m2, up to 70 per cent higher than some countries in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Among high income countries, USA has the single highest BMI (over 28 kg/m2 for men and women), followed by New Zealand. Japan has the lowest BMI (about 22 kg/m2 for women and 24 kg/m2 for men), followed by Singapore.

  • Among high-income countries, between 1980 and 2008, BMI rose most in USA (by more than 1 kg/m2/decade), followed by New Zealand and Australia for women and followed by UK and Australia for men. Women in a few Western European countries had virtually no rise in BMI.

  • The UK has the sixth highest BMI in Europe for women and ninth highest for men (both around 27 kg/m2).

  • Turkish women and Czech men have the highest BMI in Europe (both around 28 kg/m2). Swiss women had the lowest BMI in Europe (around 24 kg/m2).

 

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