Chart of the Day: Obesity – Half the World Will Be Fat By 2035

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Here is a topic and a set of charts and information many will not like – obesity. It seems like everyone wants to go on a diet and watch their weight. Is America getting fat or even obese? Is the world getting fat or obese?

More than half the world’s population will be overweight or obese by 2035 – wiping trillions of pounds off the potential value of the global economy, a report warns. The figure is forecast to soar from 2.6 billion people (38%) in 2020 to 4 billion (51%) in the next 12 years without action to tackle the crisis.

Obesity alone is anticipated to rise from 14% to 24% over this period, according to a new analysis by the World Obesity Federation.

It means 2 billion adults and children – one in four – will be blighted by the disease, raising their risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. The report blames Covid lockdowns for fuelling weight gain, as the curbs restricted movement outside the home and encouraged couch potato lifestyles and snacking. Below is a chart of which countries (by gender) will suffer the most by 2023 – learn more here.

The economic impact of overweight and obesity is expected to more than double from £1.64 trillion in 2020 to £3.35 trillion in 2035. This includes the healthcare costs of treating obesity and its consequences and the impact of high BMI on economic productivity, including sick leave, reduced productivity while at work, and early retirement or death. The economic impact is estimated to reduce global output by 2.9% annually by 2035.

What about obesity in America?

According to CDC, the percentages of overweight, obese, and severely obese children ages 2 through 19 in the United States have generally trended upward in recent years. For instance, the data shows that the percentage of obese children ages 2 through 19 in the United States increased from 5.2% in 1971-1974 to 19.3% in 2017-2018. See the following charts below and learn more here.

Juxtapose this against other data that suggest the world has a hunger problem. After steadily declining for a decade, world hunger is on the rise, affecting nearly 10% of people globally. From 2019 to 2022, the number of undernourished people grew by as many as 150 million in a crisis driven largely by conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic – see here for more information on this topic.

  • 14 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition.
  • 45% of child deaths worldwide are due to hunger and related causes.
  • There is more than enough food produced in the world to feed everyone on the planet. Yet as many as 828 million people still go hungry.

Is it not strange that, on the one hand, the world is getting fatter and more hungry at the same time? This is most likely driven by the poor distribution of the food we have. No doubt, governments are the cause on the one hand and, on the other, the cause.

The world is just one government program away from utopia … right?

See more Chart of the Day posts.

By Tom Williams

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