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New Delhi: One of every three people, or almost 2.1 billion of the world’s population is either obese or overweight, according to the Global Burden of Disease study published in Lancet medical journal on Thursday which analyses data from 188 countries between 1990 and 2013.

Almost 37% of the world’s men are overweight or obese, up from 29% in 1980. And almost 38% of the world’s women are, up from 30% in 1980.

According to the study, 13% of the obese people in the world are in the US and 15% in China and India — an indication of how economic progress has wreaked havoc on waistlines in developing economies.

In 2010, obesity (and being overweight) caused the death of 3.4 million people, according to study conducted by the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Most of the deaths were caused by cardiovascular conditions.

“Obesity is an issue affecting people of all ages and incomes, everywhere," said Christopher Murray, director of Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, in a press release. “In the last three decades, not one country has achieved success in reducing obesity rates, and we expect obesity to rise steadily as incomes rise in low- and middle-income countries in particular, unless urgent steps are taken to address this public health crisis," added Murray who is one of the co-founders of the study.

According to the study between 1980 and 2013, the prevalence of overweight or obese children and adolescents increased by nearly 50%. In 2013, more than 22% of girls and nearly 24% of boys living in developed countries were found to be overweight or obese. Developing countries also recorded high levels of childhood obesity, where nearly 13% of boys and more than 13% of girls are overweight or obese. The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation defines an overweight person as someone having a Body Mass Index (BMI), or weight-to-height ratio, greater than or equal to 25 and lower than 30, and an obese person as having a BMI equal to or greater than 30.

“The rise in obesity among children is especially troubling in so many low- and middle-income countries," said Marie Ng, Assistant Professor of Global Health at IHME and the paper’s lead author. “We know that there are severe downstream health effects from childhood obesity, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many cancers. We need to be thinking about how to turn this trend around

The study highlighted that there have been regional differences in terms of an increase in obesity over the last 30 years. In developed countries, obesity increased sharply between 1992 and 2002, but slowed down after 2006; in developing countries, obesity will continue to increase, it said.

More than 50% of the world’s 671 million obese people live in 10 countries — the US, China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan, and Indonesia. That includes at the BRIC countries and two of the newfangled MINT ones.

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