An astonishing 5.5 billion people - up to 76 per cent of the world's population - are 'overfat', warn researchers who say the new pandemic has quietly overtaken the planet and argue for a change in global health efforts against chronic and metabolic diseases.The researchers, including those from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, put forth a specific notion of overfat, a condition of having sufficient excess body fat to impair health.Based on a new look into current data, they argue how, in addition to those who are overweight and obese, others falling into the overfat category include normal-weight people."The overfat pandemic has not spared those who exercise or even compete in sports," said lead author of the study Philip Maffetone, CEO of MAFF Fitness Pty Ltd in Australia."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," said Maffetone.While the obesity epidemic has grown considerably over the last three to four decades, this work casts light on the much higher numbers of people who may have unhealthy levels of body fat.
The term overfat, as opposed to obesity and overweight, may be more helpful moving forward in addressing this global health problem, they said.This is the first effort to globally quantify those who are overfat versus overweight or obese. The traditional body-mass index (BMI) measures weight and height, but is not a direct measure of body fat, researchers said.The research was published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)