Prevalence of Obesity | World Obesity Federation

Prevalence of Obesity

The worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016. Obesity is now recognised as one of the most important public health problems facing the world today.

According to the World Health Organisation (2016), there are around 2 billion adults currently living with overweight, of which 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 living with overweight and 13% living with obesity. It is now estimated that most of the world's population lives in countries where overweight and obesity is a bigger risk to health than underweight.

The World Obesity Federation estimates that by 2020 around 770 million adults globally were affected by obesity, and that figure is anticipated to exceed one billion by 2030 unless we act soon.

Obesity Prevalence

Childhood Obesity

According to the World Health Organisation, it is estimated that 41 million children under the age of 5 years were living with overweight or obesity 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 living with obesity in 1975, more than 124 million children and adolescents (6% of girls and 8% of boys) were living with obesity 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 freely available for all on our Global Obesity Observatory. 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, region and ethnicity). 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 find data on economic impact.

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 drivers and comorbidities of obesity (compared to regional countries) and economic impact.  All data available for a country/region is downloadable as a report card.

Interactive and customisable data tables for adults and children allow you to view prevalence data in a different format. Tables can be viewed globally or regionally and downloaded as PDFs.

Flat presentation maps 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.

In the publications section, you can find all of World Obesity's global and regional Atlases. Here, you can also find our reports on economic impact and our policy dossiers

All are now able to create personal accounts where they can save their favourite graphs, create customised tables, personalise their own PDFs, and more.

Chartbuilder is a feature that allows you to create your 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