Global Obesity Rate ‘Alarming,’ Australia And New Zealand Struggling to Keep Weight Off

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By Reissa Su | May 29, 2014 8:49 PM EST

Australians are alarmingly obese with seven in 10 men found to be "fat." In a recent report regarding worldwide obesity, health experts were horrified with the latest statistics stressing life expectancy may be reversed if people do not take drastic action.

Reuters
Pedestrians walk across the street near Times Square in New York in this August 28 2007 file photo.

Researchers described the report as the "most comprehensive global study to date" with 188 countries covered in the obesity study which includes worldwide rates in the past three decades.

According to the report, researchers found no significant decline in any of the countries. A team of international researchers, led by Prof. Emmanuela Gakidou of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, conducted a comprehensive review of reports, surveys and scientific studies to look for obesity prevalence in adults aged 20 and above, including children between 2 and 19 years old from 1980 to 2013.

Their findings revealed that 62 percent of obese live in developed nations. The U.S. reportedly has the highest increase in obesity among adults. Australia came in second with 28 percent of men and 30 percent of women now obese. The UK ranked third with obesity prevalent in one-fourth of the total population.

The global study cited about five million or one-third of the Australia's adult population is considered obese. New Zealand has a higher obesity rate of 66 percent compared to Australia's overall 63 percent. When combined, Australia and New Zealand have the fastest growing obesity rates than any other region.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported New Zealand is one of the worst countries with increasing obesity rates as a result of high fast food consumption in the world.

Based on WHO's study on fast food purchases per capita, New Zealand ranks fourth out of the 25 countries in terms of food purchases.

Boyd Swinburn, professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at Auckland University, remarked New Zealand should be concerned of the study.

He added New Zealand, Australia, the U.S. and UK tend to be less deregulated when it comes to food products. Northern European countries have higher levels of regulating food which help reduce fast food consumption resulting to less obesity rates.

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(Photo: Reuters / Lucas Jackson)
Pedestrians walk across the street near Times Square in New York in this August 28 2007 file photo.
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