Just The Facts

The Increasing Global Obesity Rate

The share of people globally who are overweight or obese is increasing rapidly.

Credit: Filimonas Triantafyllou - www.flickr.com


  • The global obesity rate is increasing at an alarming pace.
  • Since 1980, the overweight/obese population grew more than double the increase in world population.
  • The number of overweight or obese people worldwide increased by 145% across 33 years.

1. As of 2013, 9% of the world’s population — or about 671 million people — is considered obese.

2. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30% or higher. BMI is a rough measurement of body fat based on a person’s height and weight.

3. Obesity is associated with a host of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

4. More broadly, 29% of the world’s population is either overweight or obese.

5. The number of overweight or obese people increased from 857 million in 1980 to 2.1 billion in 2013 — an increase of 145%.

6. The increase in the number of overweight or obese people globally is more than double the 61% increase in world population over the same 33 years.

Source: Centers for Disease Control with additional analysis by The Globalist Research Center

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