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Obesity is ‘exploding,’ with more than 12% of people classified as obese worldwide, study finds: ‘Big trouble’

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Obesity is ‘exploding,’ with more than 12% of people classified as obese worldwide, study finds: ‘Big trouble’

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One in every eight people globally qualifies as obese, according to a new study published in The Lancet on Feb. 29.

As of 2022, more than one billion people — 43% of adults — were living with obesity across the world, according to researchers from the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, a global network of health scientists.

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The number of obese adults has more than doubled since 1990. 

Among children between ages five and 19, the obesity rate has quadrupled, according to a press release from the World Health Organization (WHO).

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The researchers analyzed data from 3,663 population-based studies with 222 million participants, using different body mass index (BMI) measurements for adults, children and teens.

The data was collected between 1990 and 2022 across 200 countries and territories, according to the findings in The Lancet.

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One in every eight people globally qualifies as obese, according to a new study published in The Lancet. (iStock)

Out of the 200 countries, the U.S. ranked 36th for obesity.

“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 Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, in the release. 

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“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,” he went on. 

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“Importantly, it requires the cooperation of the private sector, which must be accountable for the health impacts of their products.”

Man with obesity

The number of obese adults has more than doubled since 1990, researchers found, according to a new study published in The Lancet. (iStock)

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, said the world is in “big trouble” in terms of undernutrition and obesity. 

“In terms of undernutrition, it is a public health challenge in many places, including Asia and Africa, though overall rates have dropped,” Siegel, who was not involved in study, told Fox News Digital.

“We have far too much processed food with chemicals that produce weight gain.”

“By comparison, obesity is exploding,” he added.

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A primary cause of obesity is poor diet, including too many carbohydrates and fats and too few proteins and vegetables, according to the doctor.

“In poor areas, this may be cost-related in part,” he said.

What can be done?

In cases where it’s not an economic issue, Siegel suggested countering obesity by increasing the intake of vegetables, fiber and fish and decreasing the consumption of alcohol, bread, pasta, rice and desserts.

obese child at doctor's

Among children between five and 19 years of age, the obesity rate has quadrupled since 1990, a new study found. (iStock)

“We have far too much processed food with chemicals that produce weight gain,” said Siegel. “We should fight back by trying to use natural foods (farm to table) as much as possible.”

He also emphasized the importance of eating smaller portions, increasing water intake and exercising regularly to help reduce hunger and cravings.

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“We also have effective weight loss drugs — semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro and Zepbound) — but they should be reserved for those who are truly obese and have failed lifestyle modifications above,” Siegel said.

Older couple eating

A primary cause of obesity is poor diet, including too many carbohydrates and fats and too few proteins and vegetables, according to Dr. Siegel. (iStock)

“Diabetics must be first in line for these drugs as production shortages are overcome, followed by those most in need, but they can certainly make a difference in terms of improving insulin function, improving efficiency of glucose metabolism and decreasing hunger.”

Obesity is a primary driver of the leading causes of death, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Fox News Digital reached out to the study researchers for comment.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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Health

Health weekend roundup: A mother's health mission, sleep-blocking foods, heat illnesses and more

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Health weekend roundup: A mother's health mission, sleep-blocking foods, heat illnesses and more

Fox News Digital publishes an array of health pieces all week long to keep you in the know on a range of wellness topics: health care access, innovative surgeries, cancer research, mental health trends and much more — plus, personal stories of people and families overcoming great obstacles.

Check out some top recent stories in Health as your weekend continues — and prep for the week ahead.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

These are just a few of what’s new, of course. 

There are many more to see at http://www.foxnews/health

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Utah mom fights for her daughter’s access to ‘life-saving’ medication

For Ruby Smart, 15, Levemir is the insulin medication that works best to control her type 1 diabetes — but the manufacturer is discontinuing it. 

Alison Smart is on a mission to protect her daughter’s access to the drug. Click here to get the story.

Utah mother Alison Smart (in green sweater, pictured with Ruby Smart, age 15) is fighting for her teenage daughter’s access to diabetes medicine. (Alison Smart/iStock)

CDC warns of extreme heat dangers

Is extreme heat a public health threat? 

Fox News Digital reports the findings in the latest Mortality & Morbidity Report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including a spike in emergency room visits due to heat-related illness. Doctors chime in on the potential risk. Click here to get the story.

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Thermometer - heat wave

Many regions across the United States experienced “record-breaking high temperatures” in 2023 due to extreme heat, according to the CDC. (iStock)

Surprising reason for sleep struggles

If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, you might be overlooking one important lifestyle factor. 

Two sleep specialists reveal essential ingredients for high-quality sleep. Click here to get the story.

Snacks/insomnia

What you eat can have an impact on how well you sleep at night, experts say. (iStock)

The girl who can’t smile

Tayla Clement, 26, was born with a rare disorder that has made it impossible for her to smile — but she says she is grateful for it. 

The New Zealand woman discusses with Fox News Digital how she overcame trauma and learned to celebrate her differences. Click here to get the story.

Tayla Clement split image

Tayla Clement, born and raised in New Zealand, has Moebius syndrome, a neurological disease that affects one child out of every 50,000 to 500,000. (Tayla Clement)

‘Forever chemicals’ found in water across US

A new study found that higher amounts of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances) were found in drinking water in certain parts of the U.S. 

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Public health experts weigh in on the risks of the toxic chemicals. Click here to get the story.

Happy beautiful young woman drinking water

PFAS “hot spots” were concentrated in the Midwest, New England and the West Coast, the researchers found. (iStock)

Pick-me-ups to beat the midday slump

Is the “post-lunch coma” slowing down your productivity? 

A nutritional biologist shares six proven energy-boosters to to prevent post-meal fatigue. Click here to get the story.

Health weekend recap

This week’s health recap includes stories about heat hazards, a mother’s fight for her daughter’s diabetes medication, and a little-known disruption of healthy sleep. (iStock / Alison Smart)

Drinking pure orange juice is linked to surprising benefits

A new study found that people who drank 100% orange juice consumed fewer calories than those who drank a sugar-sweetened orange beverage. 

Nutritionists reacted to the findings. Click here to get the story.

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Americans need more sleep and less stress

Many U.S. adults are getting too little sleep and have too much stress, according to a new Gallup poll. 

Dr. Marc Siegel of New York and a sleep expert and behavioral scientist discuss the connection between disordered sleep and dangerous stress levels. Click here to get the story.

Tired woman at computer

The poll showed that 63% of Americans who reported wanting more sleep also “frequently experience stress.” (iStock)

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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Americans need more sleep, less stress, experts say, as Gallup poll reveals troubling findings

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Americans need more sleep, less stress, experts say, as Gallup poll reveals troubling findings

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Many Americans are getting too little sleep and have too much stress.

A new Gallup poll revealed 57% of adults would “feel better if they got more sleep,” while 42% said they get “as much sleep as they need.”

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These findings have nearly reversed in the last decade, Gallup noted in a press release. The last measurement in 2013 found that 56% of Americans got the sleep they needed while 43% did not.

LACK OF SLEEP COULD BE A FACTOR IN A ‘SILENT EPIDEMIC,’ EXPERTS WARN

Overall, however, Americans are getting fewer hours of sleep than they did in past decades.

In 1942, 59% of Americans were getting eight hours or more of sleep per night, while only 3% were getting five hours or less.

Fifty-seven percent of adults said they would “feel better if they got more sleep,” a new Gallup poll revealed. (iStock)

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In 2024, only 25% of Americans get an average of eight hours of sleep, and 20% reported sleeping for five or less.

Young women are the least likely to get enough sleep, according to the study — with 36% of females versus 48% of males reporting getting enough shuteye.

SLEEP DISORDERS AND SUICIDE: A MENTAL HEALTH EXPERT REVEALS THE CONCERNING LINK

Sleep amounts for both men and women showed “significant declines from previous readings in 2013 and 2004,” according to Gallup — and are the lowest measured for each group to date.

The decline was found across all age groups, although young adults between ages 18 and 29 saw the smallest difference.

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Stress-sleep connection

Gallup suggested that an uptick in stress could be driving this downward trend in sleep, as the American Psychological Association reports a “strong connection between stress and sleep quality.”

The poll showed that 63% of Americans who reported wanting more sleep also “frequently experience stress.”

Tired woman at computer

Women are most likely to frequently experience stress, the Gallup poll found. (iStock)

“Over the past 30 years, the number of Americans who are stressed has been on a steady incline after a sharp drop in 2003,” Gallup reported.

“The most recent data show that nearly half of all Americans, 49%, report frequently experiencing stress — up 16 points over the past two decades and the highest in Gallup’s trend to date.”

IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP BY OPTIMIZING 6 BIOMARKERS: ‘INTEGRAL TO HEALTH’

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Young women are also most likely to frequently experience stress, “exceeding men their age by 14 points,” according to Gallup.

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, confirmed this relationship between sleep and stress, calling it the “cycle of worry” during a Thursday appearance on “America’s Newsroom.”

dr. marc siegel on america's newsroom

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, discussed the relationship between sleep and stress during a Thursday appearance on “America’s Newsroom.” He noted that exposure to the blue light of smartphone screens can keep people awake, among other issues. (Fox News)

“They’re connected,” he said. 

“If you get more stressed, you don’t sleep; if you don’t sleep, you get more stressed.”

Siegel explained that “all of this spirals out of control,” since sleeplessness is often remedied with caffeine — yet caffeine “interferes with your sleep cycle.”

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“If you get more stressed, you don’t sleep; if you don’t sleep, you get more stressed.”

The same goes for drinking alcohol before bed to induce sleep, which “wears off and you wake up in the middle of the night,” the doctor warned. 

Exposure to the blue light of smartphone screens can keep people awake, Siegel said.

WANT TO BE A MORNING PERSON? THESE 6 EXPERT TIPS MAY GET YOU THERE

“All of this is very bad for health,” he said. “It leads to heart disease, it increases your risk of stroke, it causes you to gain weight.”

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For young women in particular, several factors could be causing them to lose sleep, including the use of social media, which can “feed anxiety,” Siegel said.

Man on phone

A potential fix to ending the sleep-stress cycle is practicing “sleep hygiene,” said one doctor, which includes sleeping in a dark room away from your cellphone. (iStock)

A potential fix for the sleep-stress cycle is practicing “sleep hygiene,” Siegel suggested, which includes sleeping in a dark room away from your cell phone.

“I treat stress and sleeplessness as the same thing,” he said. “That’s why I don’t believe in sleeping pills … You’re just covering up the problem.”

He added, “I want to get at why you’re worried and what I can do about the worry.”

SLEEPING WITH LIGHTS OFF AND CLOSED BLINDS MAY PROTECT YOUR HEALTH: STUDY

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Dr. Wendy Troxel, a Utah-based sleep expert and senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation, told Fox News Digital in an interview that stress levels have remained “very high” since the COVID pandemic.

“[For] populations navigating multiple demands, including young people who are going to school or starting new jobs in this topsy-turvy world, it’s understandable that they are experiencing increases in stress, and that’s manifesting increases in sleep disturbances,” she said.

dr. wendy troxel headshot

Dr. Wendy Troxel, senior behavioral scientist at RAND Corporation, is also the author of “Sharing the Covers: Every Couple’s Guide to Better Sleep” and scientific advisor for sleepfoundation.org. “As a culture,” she said, “we’ve become more aware of the importance of sleep over the past 10 years, which is a great thing.” (Diane Baldwin)

In some instances, Troxel pointed out, lack of sleep has been worn as a “badge of honor” to prove that people are busy or productive.

“But I think that that cultural misconception is starting to wane,” she said.

“The reality is, as a culture, we’ve just become more aware of the importance of sleep over the past 10 years, which is a great thing.”

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To break the “vicious cycle” of stress impacting sleep and vice versa, Troxel offered several tips, including maintaining a consistent sleep and wake schedule to ensure that stress doesn’t “invade your life.”

Incorporating a wind-down routine prior to bed can also bring down stress levels, the sleep expert noted.

These routines can involve relaxing activities such as deep breathing exercises, cuddling with a partner, journaling, doing gentle yoga or listening to music.

man meditates at night on his bed

Wind-down activities before bed can include deep breathing exercises, cuddling with a partner, journaling, doing gentle yoga or listening to music. (iStock)

“It’s just about finding something that you can ritualize and do on a nightly basis to set the stage … to put aside all the demands and stress of the day and prepare for winding down and [going] to sleep,” Troxel said.

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For people who wake up in the middle of the night due to stress, she advised getting out of bed, performing a wind-down activity and then returning to bed.

This technique, called stimulus control, prevents the brain from forming the habit of waking up at a certain time to ruminate on stressful thoughts.

“We all have occasional stress-related sleep disturbances, but if that starts happening night after night, it becomes habit-forming,” she said. 

“And that’s where we see more chronic problems like insomnia. So, if you see that happening, treat it as a habit that your brain is learning — and break it.”

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