World Obesity Atlas 2024 | World Obesity Federation

World Obesity Atlas 2024: No area of the world is unaffected by the consequences of obesity

NewsWorld Obesity Atlas 2024: No area of the world is unaffected by the consequences of obesity

World Obesity Atlas 2024

Rising obesity rates across the world reveal massive gaps in healthcare and nutrition, with poorest populations most adversely affected 

Key Statistics:

  • 79% of adults with overweight and obesity will live in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) by 2035.
  • 88% of children with overweight and obesity will be living in LMICs by 2035. 
  • It is projected that the number of adults living with obesity will rise from 0.81 billion in 2020 to 1.53 billion in 2035.

On the eve of World Obesity Day, we have released our annual World Obesity Atlas, providing a comprehensive overview of obesity rates and trends worldwide, with clear projections as to how the trajectory of the fallout from obesity is likely to affect the world.

One of the key findings is that no area of the world is unaffected by the consequences of obesity and the poorest suffer the most, at ever younger ages. Contrary to public perception, lower-income countries are increasingly leading the way in terms of early disability and death due to obesity and the diseases it is driving, including diabetes and heart disease.  

The Atlas identifies a clear link between greenhouse gas emissions that accompanies a country’s development, and rising rates of obesity – both in the Global South and the Global North – articulating in stark terms the interrelationship between environmental factors and obesity.

World Obesity Atlas 2024

The Atlas also provides compelling evidence of how lack of obesity care in health systems is driving all the major NCDs including cancer and diabetes. The alarming rise in obesity rates demands immediate attention and concerted action from governments, healthcare professions and communities worldwide. 

“The release of the 2024 Global Atlas highlights the imperative for a paradigm shift in our approach to tackling obesity. We need to stop false tradeoffs between food and health, young and old, developed and developing country, and recognise this is a serious, global challenge that calls for multisectoral solutions and coordinated action,” said Johanna Ralston, CEO at the World Obesity Federation.

The new 2024 Atlas underscores how factors driving economic development are contributing to obesity trends. Shockingly, of the global deaths attributed to high Body Mass Index (BMI), the population measure of obesity, 78% occur among adults in LMICs, eclipsing the 22% in high-income nations. Similarly, 80% of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) are attributed to high BMI burden adults in LMICs, compared to a mere 20% in high-income countries.

“It’s a common misconception that obesity - and its myriad health implications - are only limited to certain countries in the Global North,’ said Kent Buse, Director of the Healthier Societies Program at the George Institute for Global Health. “But the barriers to healthy and affordable foods, to active transport and much-needed medical support are not limited to what people likely consider to be ‘rich’ countries, and governments all over the world need to implement policies that help communities gain access to healthy food and responsive health systems now. The projections in the Global Atlas make very clear what the alternative is and it is a frightening prospect.”

World Obesity Atlas 2024

The 2024 atlas establishes a direct correlation between obesity and planetary health. Countries experiencing rapid economic growth are susceptible to increased levels of BMI and, in turn, there are a number of environmental consequences that arise from that increase.

“With increasing economic development, we see increased levels of high BMI. We also see a similar correlation between high BMI and GHG emissions, increased urban population, plastic waste usage and insufficient physical activity,” said Louise Baur, World Obesity President.  “Furthermore, obesity rates are rising - at a very concerning rate - among children and adolescents globally. Measures targeting this demographic are crucial to ensure healthier future generations.”

World Obesity Day is an opportune time for governments to reaffirm their commitment to tackling this global challenge and strive towards a healthier and more equitable future for all. By prioritising preventive measures and promoting healthy lifestyles, it is possible for governments to mitigate the adverse effects of obesity on individuals and societies.

Download our World Obesity Atlas 2024

World Obesity Atlas 2024

Read our latest World Obesity Atlas, released for World Obesity Day 2024.

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More about World Obesity Day

Find out more about World Obesity Day at our dedicated website here.

World Obesity Day