Men in Malta are among the heaviest in Europe, having the highest body mass index along with males in Ireland and Cyprus, according to The Lancet medical journal.

In the analysis published yesterday, experts warned that by 2025, roughly one-fifth of the human species will be obese, with men in Malta already being a step closer, as an average BMI of 27.8 was recorded.

“If present trends continue, not only will the world not meet the global obesity target, but severe obesity will also surpass underweight in women by 2025,” the authors of the analysis warned.

To meet the 2025 target, obesity figures must not exceed the 2010 figures, the experts said. The body mass index is a measurement that correlates weight and height per metre squared.

For a healthy weight, the index for men should be between 18.5 and 24.9. Those with a BMI higher than this are considered to be overweight and if this goes on to exceed the 30 mark, the person is considered obese.

According to the medical journal, between 1975 and 2014, the number of men and women in the world classified as obese went up to 641 million from 105 million. This means that with each passing decade, the average person was becoming 1.5kg heavier.

The analysis also showed that since the 1970s, the average BMI around the world increased from 21.7 to 24.2. During the period under review, China had the most obese people – 43.2 million men and 46.4 million women.

The US also had high obesity rates, with 41.7 million men and 46.1 million women reported as having a BMI over 30.

The journal’s data comes only weeks after a report published by the World Health Organisation confirmed that children in Malta were also among the most obese in the world. The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) report, published last month, showed that while the obesity rate in 11-year-olds had fallen, Maltese children were still the most obese in more than 40 countries.

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