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Does Global Obesity Represent a Global Public Health Challenge?


Popkin, Barry M. (2011). Does Global Obesity Represent a Global Public Health Challenge?. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93(2), 232-233. PMCID: PMC3021421


Over the past 2 decades a major shift has occurred in the prevalence and speed of change in the way people in low- and middle-income countries eat, drink, and move (1). Related to these changes are a large increase in energy imbalance and a large rightward shift in the body mass index (BMI) distribution across all ages, but particularly among adults (2). Furthermore, we are beginning to see some of these changes even at the highest levels of BMI (ie, the 95th centile) (3). Today, many low- and middle-income countries have obesity and overweight patterns among adults or children that match those found in the United States. Many descriptive studies document the increasingly high prevalence of overweight and obesity and the growing cardiometabolic burden linked with this higher prevalence (4–7). Possibly most telling was the huge systematic meta-analysis across all cancer sites for preventable causes of these cancers that pointed out that obesity and abdominal obesity represent the major preventable cause of most cancers along with smoking (8).


Reference Type

Journal Article

Article Type


Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition


Popkin, Barry M.