More than half of the global population will be overweight or obese by 2035 if action is not taken on the issue, according to a new report.
The World Obesity Foundation released its fifth annual atlas on the global status of obesity this week, predicting that 51 percent of the global population — about 4 billion people — will be obese or overweight in 12 years. The report also said that from 2020 to 2035, the share of the world’s population considered to be obese will increase from 14 to 24 percent.
In 2020, 38 percent of the world population was considered overweight or obese, according to the report.
The report also found that obesity rates are expected to rise the most among children and adolescents, predicting they will increase from 10 percent to 20 percent among boys and 8 percent to 18 percent among girls from 2020 to 2035.
The report uses the body mass index (BMI) as the metric for determining whether someone is overweight or obese, which has been a controversial measurement in the health field. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters, and is widely used to screen for weight categories, like being underweight, a “healthy” weight, overweight or having obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A BMI score of more than 25 is considered overweight, and a score of more than 30 is considered obese.
However, the BMI metric cannot tell whether someone’s weight is from fat, muscles or bone, which can potentially skew the index. The CDC also states that athletes, or anyone with a large muscle mass, with a large BMI may not always be considered overweight or obese.