36 Worrisome Global Obesity Statistics & Facts for 2021

Obesity Statistics

In the past, most people didn’t recognize obesity as a disease. Now, however, the harmful impact it can have on a person’s health is well-known. That said, data reveals that this is a preventable condition as long as a person can change and manage their dietary choices.

Most people already know what obesity is, what causes it, and how to avoid developing it. This article’s global obesity statistics will provide you with relevant information about obesity and help you understand its impact on our society.

Top 10 Obesity Statistics for 2021

  • In England, women’s obesity rates increased from 21% to 29% from 2000 to 2019.
  • The US is the 12th most obese country in the world, as per obesity statistics by country.
  • Obese people with COVID-19 are 113% more likely to be hospitalized.
  • There are at least ten different causes of weight gain that drive the prevalence of obesity.
  • BMI is heritable at rates of 25%–40%.
  • Almost one in four adults is obese in countries belonging to the OECD.
  • Statistics reveal that Nauru has the highest obesity rate, at 61%.
  • Obesity accounts for 300,000 deaths per year, as per stats on the obesity mortality rate.
  • 9.4% of children between the ages of two and five are obese.
  • Children with obesity are 70% more likely to be affected by it in adulthood.

Noteworthy Obesity Statistics

People have been continuously turning to products designed to aid in losing weight. Such high demand led to the invention of meal replacement shakes, a fantastic source of nutrients that is easy to prepare. Another go-to of many dieters these days is a quality fat burner

Now, let’s acquaint ourselves with some of the most interesting facts about obesity to understand why losing weight is something many people plan to do.

1. Losing 5%–10% of your body weight can greatly reduce the danger of multiple weight-related conditions. 

(GI Society)

If obesity is left untreated, it may cause several complications, decrease your life quality, and increase the risk of a few medical conditions. That’s why it’s crucial to consult a physician on the types of treatments appropriate for you and consequently get to your ideal target—a healthy BMI.

2. There are at least ten different causes of weight gain that drive the prevalence of obesity.

(Healthline)

Many people think that those who gain weight and become obese don’t have enough willpower to control themselves. But this isn’t true, as many factors cause people to gain weight.

Some causes of obesity include engineered junk food, genetics, medications, food addiction, leptin resistance, constant food availability, aggressive marketing, insulin, sugar, and misinformation.

3. 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are obese or overweight, as per obesity and type 2 diabetes statistics.

(Worldometers)

Data shows that being obese or overweight can have adverse metabolic impacts on insulin resistance, blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol. As one’s body fat increases, so does the probability of developing cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, and several other conditions.

4. In 2018, the American Cancer Society financed nearly $12 million in grants for obesity-related studies.

(Cancer)

Several organizations are working to prevent the adverse effects of obesity in America, obesity facts in the US show. Namely, the studies financed by ACS help determine which chemical processes in the body lead to obesity, assess the obesity’s effect on cancer development and survival in these patients, and evaluate the methods to promote lifestyle habits that decrease obesity in kids and adults.

Global Obesity Statistics

In 1995, around 200 million adults in the world were obese. What’s more, as many as 18 million children under the age of 18 were overweight. Starting from 2000, the number of obese adults has increased to more than 300 million. Read the following section to learn even more about obesity rates worldwide.

5. In England, women’s obesity rates increased from 21% to 29% during 2000–2019.

(Statista)

Within the same period, men’s obesity rates also increased from 21% to 27%. Obesity statistics from 2020 remark that obesity-related hospital admission has increased too. In fact, in 2018–2019, nearly 8,200 women and 2,900 men were admitted to the hospital. What’s more, 45–54 year-olds accounted for the highest number of admissions—almost 3,200.

6. Almost one in four adults is obese in countries belonging to the OECD.

(OECD)

That marks a change compared to 2010 when one in five adults was obese, as per stats on obesity rate by country. Generally speaking, lack of regular exercise and an unhealthy diet contribute to the increasing rates of obesity.

7. The obesity statistics worldwide show that 13% of the adults in the world were considered obese in 2016.

(WHO)

Of them, according to global obesity statistics, 11% were men. What’s more, the WHO unveiled that 15% of all women were obese in 2016. All in all, the percentage of obesity in the world almost tripled between the years 1975 and 2016.

8. 73% of Mexico’s population is overweight.

(OECD)

In Mexico, the obesity rate is one of the highest among OECD countries. Around 34% of obese in the country are morbidly obese, marking the highest level of the disease.

What’s more, child obesity doubled from 7.5% in 1996 to 15% in 2016. According to OECD’s obesity statistics worldwide from 2020, diseases related to being overweight will reduce Mexicans’ life expectancy by over four years in the following 30 years.

9. Worldwide, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2016, as per stats on the worldwide obesity rate.

(Medical News Today)

In 2016, about 39% of the adult population in the entire world was overweight. Of all adults, over 650 million were obese. More specifically, approximately 39% of men and about 40% of women were overweight that year.

10. The OECD projects a steady rise in the rate of obesity until 2030 at the earliest.

(OECD)

World obesity statistics suggest that the levels of obesity will be high in countries like England, the United States, and Mexico, where 35%, 47%, and 39% of the population are expected to be overweight or obese by 2030, respectively. The level of obesity in France is projected to almost match Spain’s in 2030 at 21%. On the other hand, global obesity trends imply that the rise will be smaller in Korea and Italy, with obesity levels projected to reach 9% and 13%, respectively, by 2030.

11. Stats on obesity rates by country reveal that Nauru has the highest obesity rate, at 61%.

(Britannica ProCon)

Right behind it are the Cook Islands, where 55.9% of the population is obese. Moreover, world obesity rankings place Palau, Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu among the most obese countries. In contrast, Vietnam is the least obese country in the world. In fact, stats on obesity percentage by country break the news that only 2.1% of its population is obese. That is based on the latest data from the WHO.

12. Average BMI by country finds Nauru’s residents have the highest average BMI, at 32.5.

(WorldPopulationReview)

The body mass index (BMI) is what’s used to determine if a person has an average weight or if they’re overweight or obese. This obesity problem in Nauru, as in many other South Pacific countries, might have been caused by Western settlers who taught locals to import unhealthy food and fry it, discouraging them from traditional cultivation, food preparation, and nutrient preservation.

13. 2.2 million COVID-19 deaths were in countries where over half of the population is overweight.

(World Obesity Day)

Obesity stats point out that being overweight is a significant predictor of developing COVID-19-related complications, including the need for hospitalization, intensive care, and mechanical ventilation. It is also a highly significant predictor of death from the virus. 

That said, global obesity statistics from 2021 remark that in countries where less than half of the population is overweight, the likelihood of death from COVID-19 is only a small fraction (one-tenth) of the level recorded in the countries where more than half of the population is overweight.

14. Obese people with COVID-19 are 113% more likely to be hospitalized. 

(Science Mag)

They are 74% more likely to be admitted to an ICU, and 48% more likely to die, as per stats on obesityrelated deaths. Both social and physiological factors contribute to these grim numbers. More specifically, the factors include chronic inflammation, impaired immunity, and increased likelihood of blood clotting. And, with obesity being stigmatized, obese people may even avoid getting medical care, according to obesity facts.

15. In the UK, lack of physical activity and excess body weight led to 36% of the COVID-19 hospitalizations.

(World Obesity Day)

Obesity statistics for the UK paint a grim picture too. Furthermore, the International Monetary Fund projected that COVID-19 would be accountable for at least $10 trillion in global output losses between 2020 and 2021, totaling around $22 trillion over 2020–2025. Notably, it has been estimated that this lack of physical activity and excess body weight may be responsible for a third of the costs, which is somewhere between $6 trillion and $7 trillion.

Obesity Facts in the US

Astoundingly, the prevalence of the disease is lower in people with college degrees than those without one. Below you will find many other interesting facts. Keep reading!

16. The US is the 12th most obese country in the world, as per obesity statistics by country.

(Britannica ProCon) (Statista)

The US has an obesity rate of 36.2%. What’s more, the average adult body mass index (BMI) is 29.1 for males and 29.6 for females. In fact, the average BMI increased from 1999–2000, when it was 27.8 for males and 28.2 for females, as per stats on obesity rates in America by year.

17. The US is one of the most obese developed countries in the world.

(Yahoo Finance)

Even though obesity is more common in underdeveloped countries, it can also be prevalent in developed ones. In fact, the US is among the 11 fattest countries in the world. Leading an unhealthy lifestyle is very common in the US, with fast food and lack of physical activity contributing to the obesity rate.

18. Over a third of the US adult population is obese, as per stats on obesity rate in America.

(Healthline) (WebMD)

Believe it or not, over two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. More specifically, the obesity percentage in America’s adult population is 36.5%, and 32.5% of adults are overweight. While eating less and moving more is the key to weight loss, many people also turn to weight loss pills.

19. Non-Hispanic Black adults have an obesity rate of 49.6%.

(CDC)

And that’s the highest age-adjusted obesity rate. Then, Blacks are followed by 44.8% of Hispanic, 42.2% of non-Hispanic White, and 17.4% of non-Hispanic Asian adults. Furthermore, obesity demographics uncover that in women, obesity rates were lower in the highest income group.

20. The obesity rate in Mississippi is 40.8%—the highest adult obesity rate.

(SOCO)

Based on the US obesity rate data, adult obesity rates exceed 25% in 48 states, 35% in 12 states, and 30% in 35 states. In 2018–2019, the adult obesity rate increased in Pennsylvania and Michigan, lowered in Florida, and stayed the same in all other states and DC. Interestingly, the lowest obesity rates in America are in DC and Colorado—23.8%.

21. The obesity epidemic accounts for 300,000 fatalities per year, as per stats on the obesity mortality rate.

(WVDHHR)

This information comes from the National Health Institutes’ research. It has been established that issues linked to being overweight or obese come second in ranking the leading causes of preventable deaths in the US—following tobacco use and its adverse effects.

22. At least one out of three adults is deemed overweight.

(NIDDK)

Having read many overweight and obesity statistics, we can see the difference between the two more clearly. Generally, for adults, if the body mass index falls in the range between 25 and 29.9, the person is considered overweight. If the BMI is over 30 and up to 40, the person is obese.

23. Two-thirds of Americans are classified as overweight or obese.

(NIDDK) (Worldometers

Of the 22 most industrialized countries, the US ranks the worst in terms of obesity, based on stats on the American obesity rate. Many Americans might continue experiencing the health consequences that range from the increased likelihood of premature death to severe chronic conditions, reducing the overall quality of life.

24. Obesity trends in America reveal that the medical costs were $147 billion in 2008 US dollars. 

(CDC)

The yearly productivity costs of absenteeism related to obesity are between $3.38 billion ($79 per obese individual) and $6.38 billion ($132 per individual with obesity). In addition, the obesity in America statistics confirm that 71% of US citizens aged 17–24 don’t qualify for military service because of obesity.

25. The annual health care expenses related to obesity may be as high as $240 billion.

(Worldometers)

It is according to author Eric Schlosser as written in his book “Fast Food Nation.” In addition, the American Cancer Society verifies that due to the lengthy and costly therapy for problems caused by obesity, the disease cost an estimated $75 billion back in 2003.

Obesity statistics provided by the National Health Institutes differ a little. According to them, from $75 billion to $125 billion is allocated for indirect and direct expenses combatting illnesses associated with obesity.

Childhood Obesity Statistics

Obesity is a severe medical condition that affects children too. What’s most dangerous is that it often leads to health issues later on in life. Let’s take a look at these childhood obesity facts and statistics and learn more.

26. In 2019, around 38.2 million children under five were overweight or obese. 

(WHO)

According to childhood obesity rates by country, the disease affects children in low-, middle-, and high-income countries all the same. That said, in Africa, there has been a 24% increase in the number of overweight children under five since 2000. At the same time, obesity statistics worldwide from 2019 by country affirm that nearly 50% of children under five who were obese or overweight lived in Asia.

27. 9.4% of children between the ages of two and five are obese.

(Medical News Today)

These child and teenage obesity stats are from a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study involved 40,780 children and adolescents aged 2–19 in the years 2013 and 2014. Of the 9.4% obese children, 1.7% had extreme obesity.

28. Genetics and obesity facts note that some children have greater chances of obesity due to genetic factors. 

(Medline Plus)

That means they have inherited specific genes from their parents that make their bodies gain weight more easily. Moreover, genetic obesity facts find that the disease may also be related to some rare genetic conditions. For instance, Prader Willi syndrome is a congenital disease, which is the most common genetic cause of severe and life-threatening obesity in children.

29. Children struggling with obesity are 70% more likely to continue to be affected by obesity in adulthood.

(Obesity Action)

Children with obesity are predisposed to the disease (in more severe form, too) growing up. More often than not, environmental factors such as lack of physical activity and technological advances result in a more sedentary lifestyle for the children of this decade. In fact, data on childhood obesity trends breaks the news that over 40% of children watch TV for two or more hours per day, which may further increase their likelihood of developing obesity later in life.

30. In 2016, more than 340 million kids and adolescents aged 5–19 were overweight or obese.

(WHO)

The incidence of overweight or obese kids and teenagers has increased drastically. Namely, it increased from 4% in 1975 to over 18% in 2016, as per child and teen obesity stats. The increase was similar for boys and girls. Around 18% of all girls and 19% of all boys were classified as overweight in 2016.

Although just below 1% of kids and teenagers aged 5–19 were obese in 1975, childhood obesity statistics from 2020 show that this figure has risen to more than 124 million kids and teenagers. Of them, 8% are boys, and 6% are girls.

31. Childhood obesity rates by state find that Kentucky has the highest youth obesity rate—23.8%.

(SOCO)

And that refers to children aged 10–17. Other states with considerably high rates are Mississippi (22.3%), South Carolina (22.1%), Tennessee (20.4%), and Arkansas (20.2%).

32. Obesity affects 25% of kids in minority ethnic groups in America, as per child and teen obesity statistics.

(Obesity Action)

The increase in rates was recorded in certain minority groups, namely Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans. More often than not, children with the disease are treated differently, as per obesity facts in the US. Such discrimination may result in poor self-esteem and possibly even depression.

33. The percentage of overweight children under five increased 4.8%–6.2% from 1990 to 2015.

(NCBI)

The data was retrieved from a 2015 joint report by the WHO, the World Bank Group, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The report included 778 surveys from 150 countries, involving over 90% of all children under five worldwide. In 2014, 41 million children aged five and younger were classified as overweight, about 10 million more than in 1990.

34. About 15.4% of German children aged 3–17 are overweight or obese, as per stats on Germany obesity rate.

(DW)

In fact, the rates are similar to those recorded over ten years ago. Although the rates of those who are obese or overweight are at an all-time high, scientists note that, at the very least, they aren’t increasing. Also, health experts claim that there’s no room for complacency since the levels remain so high.

35. BMI is heritable at rates of 25%–40%.

(NCBI)

As we can see, one of the major childhood obesity causes comes down to genetics. Global obesity statistics discovered that less than 5% of the cases of obesity in childhood are attributed to genetics. While it may be a factor in developing obesity, it is definitely not the root cause of the drastic increase in childhood obesity.

36. 22.4% of girls and 29.4% of boys aged 3–17 in Germany exercise the amount recommended by the WHO.

(DW)

As suggested by the World Health Organization, everyone should exercise for at least 60 minutes per day. However, a low percentage of Germany’s youth meets the required levels. Again, a family’s socioeconomic status can play a role in childhood obesity—the facts show that children are significantly less active in sports when they come from socially disadvantaged families.

Conclusion

To combat the rise in obesity, raising awareness is essential. Namely, we should educate ourselves and those around us on the importance of managing stress, increasing physical activity, and following a healthy diet. Overall, prevention of obesity leaves no room for complacency since the disease puts one at the risk of developing health complications like stroke, osteoarthritis, coronary heart disease, and high blood pressure.

FAQs

What causes obesity, according to statistics?

The primary cause of being overweight or obese is an energy imbalance of consumed and expended calories. Globally, there has been a higher intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugar. What’s more, experts mark a much lower physical activity. The lack of it is associated with the sedentary nature of most jobs, change in transportation means, and increase of urbanization.

What state has the most obesity?

There are 12 states with over 35%of the disease’s prevalence. They are West Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas, Michigan, Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma. In other words, the Midwest and South have the highest prevalence of the disease, followed by the Northeast and the West.

What is the fattest state in the US?

About 90% of the states with the highest obesity rates are in the South. Mississippi, in particular, marked the highest rates of obesity and physically inactive adults in 2020. The Magnolia State also recorded the highest percentage of adults with hypertension. What’s more, Mississippi ranked second for the rates of type 2 diabetes, as per obesity and diabetes statistics. In comparison, Colorado has the lowest rate of obese adults and physical inactivity in adults. It’s also second-lowest for obesity in children, right after Hawaii.

What percentage of America is obese?

The national rate has passed the 40% obesity mark for the first time and got to 42.4%, marking an obesity crisis. In fact, the national obesity rate has increased by approximately 26% since 2008. That said, obesity levels vary among states and regions in the US.

What percentage of US adults are obese?

Almost 43% of adults in the US are obese, with a BMI of 30 or higher. Furthermore, somewhere around 74% of adults in the US are overweight. Be that as it may, 40% of overweight and 10% of obese people don’t perceive themselves that way.

How many people die from obesity?

As we can see, obesity has reached epidemic levels worldwide. At least 2.8 million people die from being overweight or obese every year, as per obesity death stats. With this in mind, governments, civil society, non-governmental organizations, international partners, and the private sector should all contribute to obesity prevention.

What percentage of the world's population is obese?

Obesity rates tend to vary by age. The highest prevalence can be found in adults—38.9%, as per global obesity statistics. Stats also remark that 20.6% of school-age children are obese, followed by 17.3% of adolescents. Finally, the lowest obesity rates are recorded in preschool children.

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