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What Percent of the World Is Obese?

author image William McCoy
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.
What Percent of the World Is Obese?
Obesity is widespread. Photo Credit: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

If you've experienced weight gain and noticed extra fat deposits throughout your body and tight-fitting clothing, you're likely either overweight or obese. If you have these symptoms and a doctor has indicated that your body mass index is 30 or greater, you join a startling percentage of the world's population categorized as obese. This diagnosis can lead to a series of health complications, including heart disease, diabetes and liver disease.

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A Dangerous Epidemic

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, 11 percent of the world's adult population was obese in 2008. An additional 24 percent of adults across the world were overweight, meaning more than a third of the world's population was overweight or obese. The WHO notes that obesity has almost doubled since 1980. In the United States, 35.9 percent of adults are obese and almost an equal number are overweight, according to 2010 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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