Prevalence of Obesity | World Obesity Federation

Prevalence of Obesity

The epidemic of obesity is now recognised as one of the most important public health problems facing the world today. Adult obesity is more common globally than under-nutrition.

According to the World Health Organisation (2016), there are around 2 billion adults overweight, of those 650 million are considered to be affected by obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m²). That equates to 39% (39% of men and 40% of women) of adults aged 18 or over who were overweight, with 13% obese. The worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016. It is estimated now that most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.

If current trends continue, it is estimated that 2.7 billion adults will be overweight, over 1 billion affected by obesity, and 177 million adults severely affected by obesity by 2025.

Obesity Prevalence

Childhood Obesity

According to the World Health Organisation, it is estimated that 41 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight or obese in 2016. The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents aged 5-19 has risen dramatically from just 4% in 1975 to just over 18% in 2016.

While just under 1% of children and adolescents aged 5-19 were obese in 1975, more than 124 million children and adolescents (6% of girls and 8% of boys) were obese in 2016. Childhood obesity is linked with a range of adverse physical and mental health outcomes, as well as some negative societal outcomes. That’s why we consider it one of our policy priorities.

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Our Data

At the World Obesity Federation, we have been collating country specific prevalence data for over 20 years. This database is online in our Global Obesity Observatory that has recently been revamped. See some of the features below.

We have an interactive map that displays measured % obesity prevalence by country and by population breakdowns (age, socioeconomic group, education, and region). The interactive map also displays drivers of obesity such as fruit consumption and the prevalence of common comorbidities such as diabetes and obesity-related cancers.

You can also view all data we have available for a country (or region!) in one place.  Here, you can find data on obesity prevalence, trends, the health system, and the drivers and comorbidities of obesity (compared to regional countries).  All data available for a country/region is downloadable as a report card.

Interactive and customisable data tables for adults and children. Tables can be viewed globally or regionally and downloaded as PDFs.

Flat presentation maps that show obesity data by region across different decades.  Maps can be downloaded as PDFs.

Find here interactive global rankings of estimated obesity prevalence. Rankings table can be downloaded as PDFs.

All are now able to create personal accounts to save their favourite graphs, create customised tables, personalised PDFs, and more.

Feature that allows you to create you own personalised charts that will be saved in your own personal account.

All graphs are downloadable, as are country reports, regional reports, ranking tables, and flat maps.

Causes of obesity

Want to know more about what causes & consequences obesity? Why not check out of next page in 'About Obesity' by clicking the link below.

Causes of obesity