One in two French people is overweight or obese, according to a benchmark study on the subject.
- Nearly half of French people are overweight or obese.
- Disparities are observed according to sex, age, region and socio-professional category.
- The incidence of obesity continues to rise worldwide.
Overweight and obesity are a global public health issue and France is not spared from the problem. A study published in Journal of Clinical Medicine emphasizes that 47.3% of French adults are overweight, and 17% of them are obese.
BMI and waist circumference help diagnose overweight and obesity
To reach this conclusion, the researchers based themselves on the results of a study carried out in 2020 by survey of around 10,000 people representative of the population, residing in metropolitan France and aged 18 or over.
Obesity is excess body fat and changes in adipose tissue, leading to health problems and potentially reducing life expectancy, says theInserm which reminds us that its causes are complex: “It results from several factors – dietary, genetic, epigenetic and environmental – which combine and influence the development and progression of this chronic disease.”
In adults, there is overweight when the body mass index (BMI) is equal to or greater than 25 and obesity when the BMI is equal to or greater than 30. Waist circumference is also eminently important: from 102 cm for men and 88 cm for women, one is considered overweight. For children, age must be taken into account to define overweight and obesity.
Obesity: more and more French people are concerned
According to the researchers, the share of obese French people has continued to increase in recent years, a trend also observed on a global scale. According to WHOsince 1975, the number of cases of obesity has almost tripled worldwide.
In France, this increase is particularly marked among the youngest adults, 18-24 year olds. They represent the least affected age group with a tenth – 9.2% – obese, but this share has quadrupled over the past twenty years.
In terms of proportion, the oldest are more overweight or obese than the youngest: excess weight affects 57.3% of those aged 65 and over, compared to 23.2% of those aged 18-24.
The French are not all equal when it comes to overweight and obesity
Gender differences are also observed. Thus, men are more often overweight than women (36.9% against 23.9%). But there are 17.4% obese among women against 16.7% among men.
Disparities between regions are also highlighted by the study. The prevalence of obesity thus exceeds 20% in the North and North-East of France, and is lowest (less than 14.5%) in Île-de-France and Pays de la Loire.
Finally, while overweight and obesity trends have been on the rise since 1997 in all professional categories, they nevertheless affect disadvantaged social categories more frequently, say the researchers.
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