Obesity is now seen as a bigger health crisis across the world than hunger, and has emerged as the leading cause of disabilities around the world, a new study has said.
Obesity has increased 82 percent in the last twenty years, according to the 'Global Burden of Disease' report published in The Lancet. The health burden from high body mass indexes now exceeds that due to hunger, according to the study.
"Every country with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, faces alarming obesity rates - an increase of 82% globally in the past two decades. Middle Eastern countries are more obese than ever, seeing a 100% increase since 1990," the study said.
Medical officials attribute this increase to a change in lifestyle as countries become more industrialized.
"The so-called 'Western lifestyle' is being adapted all around the world, and the impacts are all the same," Ali Mokdad co-author of the study said.
"If we could lower the obesity rates, we'd see the numbers of non-communicable diseases and pain decrease as well," Ali Mokdad said.
Obesity is an excess proportion of total body fat. A person is considered obese when his or her weight is 20% or more above normal weight.
The most common measure of obesity is the Body Mass Index (BMI). A person is considered overweight if his or her BMI is between 25 and 29.9 and is considered obese if his or her BMI is over 30.