A study conducted by researchers from Australia reveals that a shocking 76% of the world’s population is ‘overfat’. This amounts to 5.5 billion people.

The researchers put forth the notion of overfat, a condition of having sufficient excess body fat to impair health.

“The overfat pandemic has not spared those who exercise or even compete in sports,” says lead author of the study Dr. Philip Maffetone. Data shows that in addition to those who are overweight and obese, others falling into the overfat category include normal-weight people.

“The overfat category includes normal-weight people with increased risk factors for chronic disease, such as high abdominal fat, and those with characteristics of a condition called normal-weight metabolic obesity,” explains Maffetone.

Meanwhile, the work indicates that 9 to 10 percent of the world population may be underfat. An aging population, increase in chronic disease and a rising number of excessive exercisers or those with anorexia athletica, are adding to the number of non-starving underfat individuals.

This leaves as little as 14 per cent of the world’s population with normal body-fat percentage.

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health. It notes that while traditional body-mass index (BMI) measures weight and height, it is not a direct measure of body fat. It also observes that waist circumference may be a more practical solution than the bathroom scale, for clinical identification of metabolic health issues.

This is the first effort to globally quantify those who are overfat versus overweight or obese. “We want to bring awareness of the rise in these risk factors, where the terms `overfat’ and `underfat’ describe new body composition states, We hope the terms will enter into common usage, to help create substantive improvements in world health,” says Maffetone.


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