CBS Local — Nearly a third of the world’s population is obese, according to findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The 27 percent of those on Earth who are obese equates to more than two billion people.

The study finds that, though the United States leads the world in percentage of obesity, it’s not an American-specific problem. Middle-income countries such as Brazil and China have seen exponential growth in weight-related deaths in the past 30 years.

Data studied to arrive at the conclusions was derived from almost 70 million children between 1980 and 2015. Obesity was tracked through the polarizing Body Mass Index, with health problems typically associated with obesity.

More and more children are becoming obese, which begins an uphill battle that’s tough to beat in adulthood.

Outside of obesity – defined as a BMI over 30 – there’s the complex case of being overweight but not obese. Researches defined being overweight as a BMI between 20 and 25, and their findings were such that being overweight is nearly as bad as being obese.

“Our results show that both the prevalence and disease burden of high BMI are increasing globally,” the study reads. “These findings highlight the need for implementation of multicomponent interventions to reduce the prevalence and disease burden of high BMI.”

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