Chapter 3 Additional World Health Assembly nutrition indicators

This section assesses progress towards three additional WHA endorsed global nutrition targets, i.e. exclusive breastfeeding, low birthweight, and adult obesity.

3.1 Adult obesity

Obesity among adults is a risk factor for many noncommunicable chronic diseases (NCDs). Among adults 18 years and above in Asia and the Pacific, the prevalence of obesity increased from 2.6 percent in 2000 to 6.1 percent in 2016. This is lower than the global prevalence of 13.1 percent. Oceania had the highest prevalence of adult obesity, with 28.1 percent, followed by South-eastern Asia (6.7 percent), Eastern Asia (6 percent) and Southern Asia (5.4 percent).

Obesity among adults 18 years and above increased in all countries between 2000 and 2016. By 2016, the prevalence of obesity was above 45 percent in ten countries, all in the Pacific: the Cook Islands, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu. With obesity rising across every country in the region, these countries face growing challenges to meet SDG 3 Target 3.4 to reduce premature mortality from NCDs.


Prevalence of obesity among adults in Asia and the Pacific by subregion


Prevalence of obesity among adults (percent)

Asia and the Pacific2.
Eastern Asia2.
Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand15.617.820.222.423.023.6
South-eastern Asia2.
Southern Asia2.
Source: WHO.

Prevalence of obesity among adults in Asia and the Pacific by country