Per an alarming new study performed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and funded by the Gates Foundation, more than 10 percent of the world’s population are now obese. This article in The New York Times outlines the main points of the study which, so far, has garnered widespread praise from the scientific community for its informational breadth, depth, and quality.
The study points out, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the United States has seen the biggest increase in obesity rates among its population over the last 35 years. However, the more shocking statistics are being observed in countries which have historically rated very low on the global obesity scale. While countries in Latin America, Africa, and China continue to have comparatively lower percentages of obesity among their populations, they have seen some of the fastest increases in these rates over the last 15 years. As the article explains, about one percent of China’s population was obese in 1980, but in 2015 that number jumped up to five percent. And while the study itself did not delve too deeply into the causes of obesity, the article referenced several medical professionals who point to the growing accessibility of inexpensive and nutrient-poor packaged foods as the primary culprit.