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Two billion people suffering with obesity-related health complications

Two billion children and adults are suffering from health problems as a result of being overweight or obese, while an increasing number of people are dying from the same conditions, a new global research project has revealed.

The study is a collection of data from 195 countries and territories that spans from 1980 through to 2015. Almost 40 per cent of the 4 million deaths attributed to excess body weight in 2015 happened to people whose body mass index (BMI) was below the obesity threshold.

The authors of the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, said that the findings represented what has become an increasing and “disturbing global public health crisis”.

Lead author, Dr. Ashkan Afshin, assistant professor at the US Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), stated that excess body weight is one of the largest public health challenges of our time, with almost one in every three people affected by it. He continued by explaining that, although multiple interventions had been attempted over the past ten years, there remains little evidence to prove their effectiveness. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has signed a new agreement with the IHME in the interest of exchanging data, knowledge, and expertise to assist in the understanding of what is causing the global epidemic of disease connected to high body weight.