Roundup: One-Third of World is Now Overweight or Obese; Daily Aspirin Tied to Higher Risk of Bleeding in Those 75 or Older

About one-third of the world’s population, more than 2 billion people, are overweight or obese, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Moreover, an increasing percentage of people are dying from health conditions related to being overweight or obese, researchers said. In 2015, having a high BMI (body mass index), a measure of body fat based on weight and height, accounted for 4 million deaths globally. But nearly 40 percent of those deaths occurred in persons who were overweight — but not obese. A BMI above 25 is considered overweight, and above 30 is considered obese.

These findings represent “a growing and disturbing global public health crisis,” according to the study’s authors. “Since 1980, the prevalence of obesity has doubled in more than 70 countries and has continuously increased in most other countries,” the study states.

In 2015, 12 percent of adults and 5 percent of children worldwide were categorized as obese, according to the new research.

Among the world’s 20 most populous countries, Egypt had the highest level of adult obesity, at 35.3 percent of the population. The U.S. had the highest level of childhood obesity, at 12.7 percent. In contrast, Vietnam had the lowest percentage of obese adults, while Bangladesh had the lowest number of obese children.

China had the highest numbers of obese children, 15.3 million and 14.4 million, respectively. The U. S. with 79.4 million, and China with 57.3 million, had the highest numbers of obese adults in 2015, the study found.

“People who shrug off weight gain do so at their own risk – risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions,” Dr. Christopher Murray, author of the study and director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, said in the research’s press release.

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Daily Aspirin Tied to Higher Risk of Bleeding in Those 75 or Older

Daily aspirin is commonly prescribed for people over the age of 75 who are at risk for heart disease or stroke. But a new study finds that there may be a higher risk of serious and potentially fatal bleeding from daily aspirin therapy than previously thought.

A study published in The Lancet followed 3,166 patients in the United Kingdom who previously had a stroke or heart attack and were prescribed antiplatelet drugs that eliminate or reduce the risk of blood clots — mostly aspirin. Half of the participants were aged 75 or older at the start of the study. Over a 10-year period, 314 patients were hospitalized for bleeding.

The older the study participant, the higher the risk of bleeding, researchers found. Patients under the age of 65 taking daily aspirin were admitted to the hospital at a rate of 1.5 percent. For patients 75 to 84, the annual rate rose to about 3.5 percent, while the rate jumped to 5 percent for patients over 85.

Previous studies have found that between 40 and 60 percent of adults aged 75 and older in the U.S. and Europe take aspirin, or other antiplatelet drugs, daily to prevent heart attack or strokes.

The study’s authors emphasize that suddenly stopping any medication, including a daily aspirin regimen, can come with a number of risks, and they urge patients to consult with their doctors.

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Chronic Kidney Disease Affects 15% of U.S. Adults, Higher Than Previous Estimates: CDC

The number of Americans with chronic kidney disease may be higher than previously estimated. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 15 percent of the U.S. adult population, according to new data analyzed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

One in seven American adults, or 30 million people, are estimated to have CKD. The most striking data from the new report: 96 percrent of those with early kidney disease (stages 1 and 2) don’t even know they have CKD. And among those with severely reduced kidney function (stage 4), but not on dialysis, 48 percent are not aware of having the disease, the new data shows..

According to a statement from the National Kidney Foundation, the higher estimate in the number of Americans affected by CKD, compared to statistics previously reported, is attributred to several factors, including “differences in study time frames, methodologies and populations, as well as an aging population and increased prevalence of risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension.”

“30 million Americans are affected by chronic kidney disease and most do not even know they have it. Let these new statistics from CDC serve as a warning bell that a major public health challenge is right in front of our eyes and more must be done to address it,” said Kevin Longino, CEO, National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient.

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