Scientists investigating risk factors for heart disease found evidence of an obesity pandemic as more countries embrace “Western” lifestyles and diets.
In 2008, more than half a billion adults worldwide – 205 million men and 297 million women – were clinically obese.
An estimated 9.8 per cent of men and 13.8 per cent of women on Earth were obese in 2008, compared with 4.8 per cent of men and 7.9 per cent of women in 1980.
Pacific island nations had the world’s highest obesity rate, while being overweight is now the norm for the average American.
Experts say the picture is similar in Britain, where women have the sixth highest body mass index (BMI) in Europe and men have the ninth highest.
Both men and women in the UK had an average BMI of around 27. The “overweight” BMI range is from 25 to 30.