Obesity is often portrayed as a Western problem, with under-nutrition found in poorer countries.
But the truth is more complex. Nine out of 10 countries are in the grip of a health epidemic known as the “double burden” – where overweight and undernourished people live side-by-side.
A worldwide explosion in the availability of unhealthy foods, a shift towards office jobs and the growth of transport and television are among the many causes.
Often, this double burden occurs not only within a community, but also within the same family.
It can even happen within the same person, who is overweight but lacking in vital nutrients. Alternatively, they can be part of a phenomenon known as “thin-fat”, where people appear to be a healthy weight, but carry large amounts of hidden fat.
Every country in the world is struggling with a nutrition problem of some kind.
The number of people suffering from chronic food deprivation reached an estimated 815m in 2016 – a 5% increase in two years. Much of the increase was in Africa, where 20% of people were malnourished.
Meanwhile, obesity rates have tripled over the last 40 years. Globally, more than 600m adults are obese, while 1.9bn are overweight.
The number of obese people in developing countries is catching up with the developed world.