Overweight and obesity are high on the public health agenda because they are now common and have serious effects in the short and long term. In 2008, the World Health Organization estimated that 1.5 billion adults were overweight and at least 500 million were obese. In developed countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, around 20% to 30% of adults are now obese, and more than 60% are overweight. This is expected to increase to 2.3 billion overweight adults and more than 700 million obese adults by 2015. At least 20 million children younger than 5 years are also overweight.

Overweight and obesity can lead to serious health consequences, with the risk increasing progressively with BMI. Being overweight is a major risk factor ...

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