Brazil: Obesity prevalence increased by 60% over the last decade in Brazil

Obesity is increasing at a high pace with one in every five Brazilians obese. More than half the population is overweight.

Estimates by the Ministry of Health (MoH) show that prevalence of obesity has increased by 60%, rising from 11.8% in 2006 to 18.9% in 2016. Percentage of overweight population increased from 42.6% to 53.8%.

Experts attribute the weight gain of Brazilians not only to economic and cultural factors but also genetic and hormonal. Studies have highlighted the change in eating pattern over the last few decades. With little time to eat, people have reduced home-cooked meals and opted for faster, higher caloric foods.

Surveys have observed a change in the regular consumption of beans which considered a staple diet for Brazilians, decreased from 67.5% in 2012 to 61.3% in 2016. Additionally, only one in three adults consume fruit five days a week. Increase in purchasing power can also be attributed to the growth of obesity prevalence.

Middle-class income which represents currently 56% of the population grew by 71% between 2005 and 2015, with the income of the poorest 25% increasing the most. It has also been observed that percentage of overweight population significantly increased in the age group from 18 to 24 years (30.3%) and 50% in 25 to 44 years.

Other contributing factors include genetics, disturbed sleeping patterns and lack of healthy diet. Obesity can lead to increased risk of other metabolic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancer account for 74% of annual deaths in Brazil.


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