Adult obesity rates are highest in the United States, Mexico, New Zealand and Hungary, while they are lowest in Japan and Korea. Obesity rates are expected to continue to rise between now and 2030, with Korea and Switzerland being the countries where obesity rates are expected to increase at the fastest rate. Obesity prevalence maps Adult obesity prevalence by state and territory using self-reported information from the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System. One measure of obesity commonly used around the world is the Body Mass Index, or BMI.
Introduced in the 1830s, this measure looks at a person's weight in relation to their height. A normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, and a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. Obesity worldwide has almost tripled since 1975, with 13% of adults obese and 39% overweight. The adult obesity rate is over 40%, the highest ever recorded.
COVID-19 related food insecurity puts more Americans at risk of becoming obese or worsening their obesity. The most commonly used metric to assess the prevalence of obesity is the body mass index (BMI) scale. Concern about the impact of obesity has taken on new dimensions this year, as having obesity is one of the underlying health conditions associated with the most severe consequences of COVID infection, including hospitalisation and death. In some regions of the world, such as Southeast Asia, there has been an alarming increase in obesity rates over the past five years.
The adult obesity rate stands at 42.4%, the first time the national rate has exceeded the 40% mark, and further evidence of the country's obesity crisis. Despite the negative effects these conditions can have on health, more people are overweight or obese today than ever before in history. Socio-economic factors such as poverty and discrimination have contributed to increased rates of obesity among certain racial and ethnic populations. Measured BMI values are used to define whether an individual is considered underweight, healthy, overweight or obese.
For a complete list of countries around the world and their obesity rates and average BMI, see the table below. This new data means that 42 percent of all Americans are at increased risk of serious, possibly life-threatening health impacts due to their weight and obesity-related health conditions. These dietary patterns, coupled with lower levels of physical activity, lead to a sharp increase in childhood obesity while malnutrition problems remain unresolved. Obesity is one of the world's biggest health problems, having moved from being a problem of rich countries to one that spans all income levels.
CDC's Interactive Data, Trends and Maps Tool provides additional estimates of adult obesity prevalence in states and territories. Once considered a problem of high-income countries, overweight and obesity are increasing in low- and middle-income countries, especially in urban settings. According to the WHtR, a person is obese if their waist circumference is more than half their height. Body mass index (BMI) is a simple weight-for-height ratio commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults.