In a related finding, the Pennsylvania Department of Health last month released a report that finds that more than a quarter of a million students statewide are obese.
Researchers analyzed the health data of over 68 million people in 195 countries. In 73 countries, the number has even doubled. The goal is to elevate the world's collective understanding of what is driving "the current global epidemic of disease" related to high body weight.
Despite this increase, Russian Federation was the country that had the highest overall rates of death and disability due to excess weight in 2015.
The U.S. rate of childhood obesity is more than 12 percent, the highest among the world's most populated countries. The highest level of child obesity was found in the United States at 13 percent, while for adults it was in Egypt, at around 35 percent. This can be explained in partly by the high population of these countries. Children chosen for the study were 4.5 years of age and were videoed during their lunch time meal. "[The new finding] makes much more sense given what we know about the physiological ramifications of overweight and obesity", said Christopher Ochner, a researcher at HCA-Physician Services Group who was not involved with the study, in an interview with Gizmodo.
In Africa and South East Asia, obesity is still quite rare compared to the rest of the world.
This study came into light because of the increasing number of health related problems and deaths caused as a result of being overweight or obese.
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Moreover, definitions may vary. "People eat what they can afford".
"Increased availability, accessibility, and affordability of energy-dense foods, along with intense marketing of such foods, could explain excess energy intake and weight gain among different populations", they added.
The World Health Organization has called on European lawmakers for better regulation of advertising targeted at children, especially on foods. "They include diabetes, heart disease, stroke, a number of different cancers associated with being obese or overnight, and also arthritis", said Dr. Bruce Lee with the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins. When it came to the most populated nations, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United States of America scored the highest in obesity, with 27.5%, 26.8% and 26.5% of citizens, respectively, having a body mass index over 30, Newsweek reports. The study found that children who become overweight or obese early in life will typically remain so for the rest of their lives.
In addition, if the emphasis is generally on people with a high BMI, it should be understood that weight loss can also cause significant health problems, some of which can lead to death. "Looking at numbers on a scale is not enough and I would never advise an obese person to lose weight if his blood pressure, glucose levels, mental health, etc. are fine".
Still, sedentary lifestyles may be riskier than being overweight, researchers at the University of Cambridge warn.
Evidence is building that it's food and not a lack of exercise that is more to blame for the expanding waistlines.
In a nutshell, this is what all these studies are trying to tell us.