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Semin Vasc Med. 2005 Feb;5(1):3-14.

Epidemiology of obesity.

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  • 1Department for Nutrition and Health, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Free University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The prevalence of obesity is increasing at an alarming rate in many parts of the world. In White populations living in the west and north of Europe, Australia, and the United States, the prevalence of obesity is similarly high in men and women. In countries with relatively low gross national product, such as those in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin-America, and Africa, the prevalence is 1.5 to 2 times higher among women than among men. Within affluent societies, the rates of obesity seem to be more common among women at older ages (65 years) and in groups with relatively low socioeconomic status. It can be tentatively concluded that obesity is particularly common in women living in relatively poor conditions.

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