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Half of World's Population Will Be Overweight by 2050, New Report Suggests

Half of World's Population Will Be Overweight by 2050, New Report Suggests

Saturday, 21 November, 2020 - 07:00
A man crosses a main road as pedestrians carrying food walk along the footpath in central Sydney, Australia. | Photo: Reuters

Global eating habits have set the world on course to have more than four billion overweight people by 2050, reported a new study, suggesting that 1.5 billion of those people will be obese, according to The Daily Mail. Meanwhile, 500 million people will likely be underweight and living on the edge of starvation.

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact (PIK) found that, if current trends in what and how people eat in various parts of the world continue, already wide gaps in nutrition will only grow into gulfs over the coming 30 years. In order to predict how global nutrition will change in the coming decades, the first-of-its-kind study assessed trends in the kinds of food people are eating, how populations are growing, and how food is being produced, and wasted, according to the German News Agency.

Since 1965, global consumption has been moving toward highly processed foods, high-protein meets, sugary products, and carbohydrates.

Meanwhile, many populations have been skimping on vegetables, plant-based and whole foods, and healthy starches. The shift means more empty calories and high-fat diets that certainly pack on the pounds, but don't do much to actually fuel our bodies.

As a result, 29 percent of the world was already overweight by 2010, and nine percent were considered obese, with a body mass index (BMI) over 30. The US is ahead of the grim curve. Between 2009 and 2010, 35.7 percent of American adults were already obese. That number had risen to 42.4 percent by the period between 2017 and 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 28 percent of the UK's population is now obese. By 2050, the PIK report estimates that 16 percent of the global population will be obese and nearly half (45 percent) will be overweight.

High rates of obesity and large populations of overweight people drive up and worsen some of the most burdensome chronic diseases in the world - heart disease, diabetes, and being overweight is now a top risk factor for COVID-19 to turn severe or fatal.

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