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Global Trends in Underweight and Obesity (1990-2020)

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Global Trends in Underweight and Obesity (1990-2020)

Global Trends in Underweight and Obesity (1990-2020). This article explores the latest study on global trends in underweight and obesity prevalence between 1990 and 2020, highlighting key findings and their implications.

Key Findings:

  • Combined Prevalence Increase: The combined prevalence of underweight and obesity increased in most countries, except for parts of South and Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Shift from Underweight to Obesity Dominance: While underweight prevalence declined, obesity increased, leading to a dominance shift in many countries, particularly in low- and middle-income settings.
  • Earlier Onset in Adults: The transition to obesity began earlier in adults compared to children and adolescents, potentially due to earlier exposure to food away from home and reduced energy expenditure.
  • Regional Variations: The Middle East and North Africa displayed a unique trend, with both obesity and breastfeeding rates increasing slightly.
  • Limited Impact of Existing Interventions:Current efforts focused on individual behavior or isolated environment changes haven’t significantly impacted obesity prevalence.


  • Urgent Need for Obesity Prevention:Comprehensive strategies are crucial to address rising obesity and its related health risks, considering the earlier onset and longer exposure duration.
  • Focus on Equity and Accessibility: Policies targeting unhealthy foods and promoting physical activity must be combined with measures ensuring accessibility and affordability of healthy options, especially for low-income populations.
  • Continued Efforts to Combat Underweight:While underweight prevalence has decreased globally, it remains a significant concern in certain regions. Addressing food insecurity and poverty is critical to tackle this issue.
  • Holistic Approach for a Healthy Transition:Achieving a healthy shift away from underweight and limiting obesity requires a multi-pronged approach. This includes economic and agricultural policies promoting food security, alongside programs that enhance healthy eating habits and address affordability concerns.
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