LONDON, May 29 (Xinhua) -- No country has witnessed a significant decline in obesity prevalence over the past three decades, with the number of overweight and obese people topping 2.1 billion in 2013, according to latest figures published in British medical journal The Lancet.
A team of international researchers performed a comprehensive search of the available data from surveys and reports to track overweight people (body mass index of 25kg/m2 or higher) and obesity (BMI of 30kg/m2 or higher) in 188 countries from 1980 to 2013.
Worldwide, there has been a startling increase in rates of obesity and the overweightedness in both adults (28 percent increase) and children (up by 47 percent) in the past 33 years. The number of overweight and obese people rose from 857 million in 1980 to 2.1 billion in 2013.
However, the rates vary widely throughout the world, with more than half of the world's 671 million obese individuals living in just ten countries -- United States (more than 13 percent), China and India (15 percent combined), Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan and Indonesia. Currently, 62 percent of the world's obese people live in developing countries.
The prevalence of overweightedness and obesity in childhood has increased remarkably in developed countries, from 17 percent in 1980 to 24 percent in 2013 in boys and from 16 percent to 23 percent in girls. Similarly, in developing countries, rates have risen from roughly 8 percent to 13 percent in both boys and girls over the three decades.
In high-income countries, some of the highest increases in adult obesity prevalence have been in the United States, where roughly a third of the adult population is obese, and Australia, where 28 percent of men and 30 percent of women are obese. A quarter of Britain's adult population is obese.
The greatest gain in overweightedness and obesity occurred globally between 1992 and 2002, mainly among people aged between 20 and 40.
Prof. Emmanuela Gakidou from the University of Washington, who led the study, warned that the study presents a worrying picture of substantial rises in obesity rates across the world and said that concerted action is urgently needed to reverse this trend.