(HealthDay News) — Since 1975, the mean body mass index (BMI) of men and women has increased and trends in obesity have been increasing worldwide, according to a study published in The Lancet.

Mariachiara Di Cesare, PhD, from Imperial College London, and colleagues estimated trends from 1975 to 2014 in mean BMI and prevalences of BMI categories by sex. They calculated the probability of meeting the target of halting the rise of obesity at its 2010 levels by 2025, if the post-2000 trends continue. Data were included from 1,698 population-based data sources, with more than 19.2 million adult participants.

The researchers found that from 1975 to 2014 there was an increase in global age-standardized mean BMI, from 21.7 to 24.2 kg/m² in men and from 22.1 to 24.4 kg/m² in women. During the study period, the age-standardized global prevalence of underweight decreased from 13.8 to 8.8% in men and from 14.6 to 9.7% in women. In men and women, the age-standardized prevalence of obesity increased from 3.2 to 10.8 and from 6.4 to 14.9%, respectively. The global prevalence of severe obesity was 2.3 and 5.0% in men and women, while that of morbid obesity was 0.64 and 1.6%, respectively.

Continue Reading

“If post-2000 trends continue, the probability of meeting the global obesity target is virtually zero,” the authors write.


  1. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration. Trends in adult body-mass index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014: a pooled analysis of 1698 population-based measurement studies with 19·2 million participants, The Lancet. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30054-X. 
  2. Smith GD. A fatter, healthier but more unequal world. The Lancet. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00588-2.