New Delhi: India has the second highest number of obese children in the world after China, according to an alarming study which found that 14.4 million kids in the country have excess weight.
Globally, over two billion children and adults suffer from children and adults suffer from health problems related to being obese, and an increasing number die from these conditions, researchers said.
However, of the four million deaths attributed to excess body weight in 2015, nearly 40% occurred among people whose body mass index (BMI) fell below the threshold considered “obese”.
The findings represent “a disturbing global public health crisis,” according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Among the 20 most populous countries, the highest level of obesity among kids and young adults was in the US at nearly 13%; Egypt topped the list for adult obesity at about 35%. Lowest rates were in Bangladesh and Vietnam, respectively , at 1%.
China with 15.3 million and India with 14.4 million had the highest numbers of obese children; the US with 79.4 million and China with 57.3 million had the highest numbers of obese adults in 2015.
“People who shrug off weight gain do so at risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions,” said Christopher Murray , from the University of Washington.
The study, which spans 195 countries and territories from 1980 through 2015, includes analyses of other studies on the effects of excess weight and potential links between high BMI and cancers of the oesophagus, colon and rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, breast, uterus, kidney , and thyroid, as well as leukaemia.
In 2015, excess weight affected 2.2 billion children and adults worldwide, or 30% of all people.