Every eighth person or more than one billion people worldwide living with obesity, a precursor to several diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, revealed a study released by the Lancet on Friday.

The study showed that in the last three decades, obesity among adults has more than doubled worldwide. Among children and adolescents (aged between 5 to 19 years), the condition has increased four times.

The study also revealed that 43 percent of adults were overweight in 2022.

“This new study highlights the importance of preventing and managing obesity from early life to adulthood, through diet, physical activity, and adequate care, as needed,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in a statement.

“Getting back on track to meet the global targets for curbing obesity will take the work of governments and communities, supported by evidence-based policies from WHO and national public health agencies. Importantly, it requires the cooperation of the private sector, which must be accountable for the health impacts of their products,” he added.

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The WHO has contributed to the data collection and analysis of this study.

Further, rates of undernutrition were also found to be a public health challenge in many places, particularly in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Combined rates of underweight and obesity in 2022 were found in island nations in the Pacific and the Caribbean and those in the Middle East and North Africa.

At the World Health Assembly in 2022, about 31 countries adopted the WHO Acceleration Plan to stop obesity, which supports country-level action through 2030.

To help curb obesity, they are implementing actions like promoting breastfeeding; regulating harmful marketing of food and beverages to children; nutrition labeling policies; public education and awareness campaigns for healthy diets and exercise; and standards for physical activity in schools.