Life threatening obesity has become a worldwide epidemic, with 711 million overweight around the globe led by French fry loving Americans.
A detailed report in the latest New England Journal of Medicine is winning alarmed attention in Washington because it finds that American children and adults are leading the obesity parade.
"The highest level of age-standardized childhood obesity was observed in the United States, 12.7 percent," said the report.
"The United States and China had the highest numbers of obese adults," added the authoritative study.
Obesity is no secret in the U.S., but the continued domestic epidemic, especially after the former Obama administration declared war on it, is alarming officials.
While the Journal looked at the global situation, a Harvard University analysis of the new report highlighted the U.S. problem based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their analysis said, "About 38 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 and older are obese as are more than 17 percent of children aged 6 to 11, federal data shows."
- In 2015, an estimated 603.7 million adults and 107.7 million children worldwide were obese. That represents about 12 percent of all adults and 5 percent of all children.
- The prevalence of obesity doubled in 73 countries between 1980 and 2015 and continuously increased in most of the other countries.
- China and India had the highest number of obese children. China and the U.S. had the highest number of obese adults.
- Excess body weight accounted for about 4 million deaths — or 7.1 percent of all deaths — in 2015.
- Almost 70 percent of deaths related to a high BMI were due to cardiovascular disease.
- The study finds evidence that having a high BMI causes leukemia and several types of cancer, including cancers of the esophagus, liver, breast, uterus, ovary, kidney and thyroid.
- In rich and poor countries, obesity rates increased, indicating "the problem is not simply a function of income or wealth. Changes in the food environment and food systems are probably major drivers. Increased availability, accessibility, and affordability of energy-dense foods, along with intense marketing of such foods, could explain excess energy intake and weight gain among different populations. The reduced opportunities for physical activity that have followed urbanization and other changes in the built environment have also been considered as potential drivers; however, these changes generally preceded the global increase in obesity and are less likely to be major contributors."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com