Almost half of Brazilian adults will be living with obesity within 20 years | World Obesity Federation

Almost half of Brazilian adults will be living with obesity within 20 years

NewsAlmost half of Brazilian adults will be living with obesity within 20 years

June 2024 - International Congress on Obesity, São Paulo, Brazil

A new study suggests that 48% of Brazilian adults will be living with obesity by 2044, with a further 27% living with overweight.

The research, presented at this year’s International Congress on Obesity (ICO 2024, São Paulo, Brazil, 26 - 29 June) suggests that, based on current trends, almost half of adult Brazilians (48%) will be living with obesity by 2044, with a further 27% projected to be living with overweight – thus within 20 years, three quarters of Brazilian adults will be living with obesity or overweight. This compares with 56% with obesity or overweight today (34% with obesity and 22% with overweight).

The authors also estimate that in 20 years’ time, 130 million Brazilian adults will be living with overweight or obesity (83 million with obesity and 47 million with overweight). The study is by Dr Eduardo Augusto Fernandes Nilson, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), Brasilia, DF, Brazil, and colleagues.

ICO 2024

Adult overweight and obesity in Brazil are increasing rapidly over time. The prevalence of obesity almost doubled from 2006 to 2019, reaching 20.3% of the adult population. By 2030, projected prevalences are estimated to be 68.1% for overweight and obesity combined, and 29.6% for obesity and 38.5% for overweight, with women, black and other minority ethnicities estimated to have higher obesity prevalence by 2030.

For women the estimate for obesity for 2030 is 30.2% and overweight 37.7%, while for men the obesity estimate for 2030 is 28.8% and overweight 39.7%. By 2030 the estimate for obesity in white people is 27.6% and overweight 38.8%, while for black and other non-white ethnicities combined it is 31.1% for obesity and 38.2% for overweight. And for those with high educational attainment, the estimate for obesity for 2030 is 26.2% while for low educational attainment it’s 35.4%. This obesity epidemic is already causing and will cause further epidemiological and economic burdens to Brazil, considering the comorbidities of obesity and their related costs.

In this study, the authors developed a table to estimate the impacts of overweight and obesity on 11 diseases associated with high Body Mass Index (BMI) in Brazil until 2044 supposing that current trends are maintained (business-as-usual scenario). The model estimates the attributable deaths and incident cases of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cirrhosis, and cancers based on demographic and epidemiological data from national surveys and from the Global Burden of Disease Study.

According to the business-as-usual policy scenario, the prevalence of overweight and obesity among Brazilian adults will increase from 57% in 2023 to 75% in 2044. Consequently, it is estimated that 10.9 million new cases of overweight and obesity will develop over the next 20 years, and 1.2 million deaths attributable to overweight and obesity over this period.

ICO 2024

While the distribution of new cases among men and women does not differ significantly, it is estimated that 64% (almost two thirds) of the attributable deaths estimated during this period are among men, as men are generally more likely to die prematurely. Diabetes represented over 51% of the new diseases attributable to overweight and obesity, and cardiovascular diseases attributable to overweight and obesity represented approximately 57% of the deaths until 2044 (see notes below).

The authors conclude: “Based on current trends, the epidemiologic burden of overweight and obesity in Brazil will increase significantly, therefore bold policies need to be implemented in the country, including the treatment of existing cases and the prevention of overweight and obesity in all age-groups.

They add: “There are so many things that we can and must do to prevent this obesity epidemic, that is already a major problem, from overwhelming Brazil. Firstly, within the health system, it is key to treat the existing cases of obesity and prevent the cases of overweight transitioning to obesity. Thinking of the prevention of overweight and obesity it is important to work on all age-groups, from early childhood to adulthood, improving food environments through regulatory and financial policies that facilitate healthy dietary choices, such as consuming a diversity of fresh and minimally processed foods, and while also guiding people away from unhealthy choices, such as ultra-processed foods.

Dr Bruno Halpern, President of Brazilian Association for the Study of Obesity (ABESO) which is co-hosting ICO with the World Obesity Federation said: "These data are alarming, and make it clear that we need to focus on prevention policies, and get away from the ‘convenient’ discourse that obesity is about habits and choices. If we do not unify efforts, with government and civil society, we will be, year after year, congress after congress, just releasing more new scary data. Fortunately, Latin America is in the forefront of this discussion, and we can learn a lot from experiences in other countries."

This article is based on oral presentation O44 at the International Congress on Obesity.


  • The 10.9 million estimated extra cases of obesity will lead to extra cases of: Cardiovascular diseases = 2,12 million; cancers = 122,000; diabetes = 5.57 million; chronic kidney disease = 2.78 million; cirrhosis = 292,000
  • Among the 1.2 million extra deaths attributed to overweight and obesity, there will be an estimated: Cardiovascular diseases = 714,000 deaths; cancers = 64,000 deaths; diabetes 195,000 deaths; chronic kidney disease = 100,000 deaths; cirrhosis = 178,000 deaths

ICO 2024

The International Congress on Obesity (ICO 2024) is hosted by the World Obesity Federation, in partnership with member organisation the Associação Brasileira para o Estudo da Obesidade (ABESO). ICO 2024 takes place at the Frei Caneca Conventions Center in São Paulo from 26 - 29 June.

ICO 2024