National, regional, and global trends in adult overweight and obesity prevalences

Pop Health Metrics: November 20, 2012

Overweight and obesity prevalence are commonly used for public and policy communication of the extent of the obesity epidemic, yet comparable estimates of trends in overweight and obesity prevalence by country are not available.


We estimated trends between 1980 and 2008 in overweight and obesity prevalence and their uncertainty for adults 20 years of age and older in 199 countries and territories. Data were from a previous study, which used a Bayesian hierarchical model to estimate mean body mass index (BMI) based on published and unpublished health examination surveys and epidemiologic studies. Here, we used the estimated mean BMIs in a regression model to predict overweight and obesity prevalence by age, country, year, and sex. The uncertainty of the estimates included both those of the Bayesian hierarchical model and the uncertainty due to cross-walking from mean BMI to overweight and obesity prevalence. Read More