Nearly one-fifth of the adult population in the world will be obese by 2025, a study on the rapidly-burgeoning disease says, and this could have disastrous consequences for generations of humans to come.

Published in the famous Lancet medical journal, the study conducted by Imperial College in London says the world will not meet any targets set by the United Nations, World Health Organisation or any other body to stem the rise of obesity. It says by 2025, more women will be obese, if the current rate does not slow down, putting in danger the next generation of humans.

“Over the past 40 years, we have changed from a world in which underweight prevalence was more than double that of obesity, to one in which more people are obese than underweight,” senior author Prof Majid Ezzati, said in a report.

Estimated obese population in major countries by 2025
Estimated obese population in major countries by 2025

“If present trends continue,” he adds, the world will not meet the target of halving obesity prevalence set in 2010. The countries most affected by the rapid rate of obesity increase are UK, Australia, US, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. By 2025, the report says, UK will have the most number of obese in Europe, at 38% of the population, say the researchers. The study found that 1/5th of the world’s obese adults (or a massive 118 million people) live in just six countries – Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the US, while a quarter of the world’s severely obese population or 50 million also live in these countries.

USA's obese population has grown at an alarming rate
USA’s obese population has grown at an alarming rate (Tony Alter_CC-BY-2.0)

Forty to 50% of women in the Caribbean and Middle Eastern countries are obese, while China, which in 1975 was 60th and 41st for severely obese men and women, respectively, rose to an alarming second place in 2014, highlighting the problem faced by the most populous country in the world.

The US will suffer the most, the study says. More than a quarter of the world’s severely obese men live in the US, while one in five severely obese women are also US residents. By 2025, this figure is expected to touch nearly half the population – 43% of women and 45% of men in the United States will be obese in 9 years. Alarmingly, the study says the United States has absolutely no chance of stopping the rising levels.

Obesity was at less than 1 percent for the male population in just two countries: Burundi and Timor-Leste, while for women, Timor-Leste, Japan, Vietnam, North Korea, Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh had am obesity prevalence rate of less than 5 percent.

Main Image: Lorrie Graham | AusAID

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