Obesity Rates Rising in Developed Nations: Report

February 21, 2012 Updated: April 11, 2012

A new report found that more people than ever before are overweight or obese in developed countries.

The report, released by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), noted that the situation will lead to health problems, an increase in healthcare costs, and will put more pressure on the health care systems of developed nations.

OECD said that rates were highest in the U.S. and Mexico, where obesity rates among the general population were 30 percent or more. In Japan and South Korea, only 4 percent of the population is obese, the report said.

In the U.K., Hungary, Italy, South Korea and Switzerland, the obesity rates stopped growing, while France’s rate grew only around 3 percent. However, in Canada, Ireland, and the U.S., the rate increased 4 to 5 percent, the report stated.

“Part of the reason could be that most governments have stepped up efforts to tackle the root causes of obesity,” OECD said in a press release.

Obesity rates for children have stabilized in France, South Korea, the U.K., and the U.S., the organization said. The reason for this, OECD said, was due to governments’ efforts in curbing the problem.

The governments of Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, and others passed laws in 2011 that placed higher tax rates on high-sugar or high-fat foods, OECD noted.