Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2018

Measuring Progress towards Universal Health Coverage

image of Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2018

This fifth edition of Health at a Glance Asia/Pacific presents a set of key indicators of health status, the determinants of health, health care resources and utilisation, health care expenditure and financing and quality of care across 27 Asia-Pacific countries and territories. It also provides a series of dashboards to compare performance across countries, and a thematic analysis on health inequalities. Drawing on a wide range of data sources, it builds on the format used in previous editions of Health at a Glance, and gives readers a better understanding of the factors that affect the health of populations and the performance of health systems in these countries and territories. Each of the indicators is presented in a user-friendly format, consisting of charts illustrating variations across countries and over time, brief descriptive analyses highlighting the major findings conveyed by the data, and a methodological box on the definition of the indicator and any limitations in data comparability. An annex provides additional information on the demographic context in which health systems operate.



Overweight and obese adults

Globally, overweight and obesity is a major public health concern, and there are more overweight or obese than underweight adults. In 2016, 39% men and 39% of women aged 18+ were overweight and 11% of men and 15% of women were obese. Thus, nearly 2 billion adults worldwide were overweight and, of these, more than half a billion were obese. Both overweight and obesity have shown a marked increase over the past four decades (WHO, 2018a). Obesity is a known risk factor for numerous health problems, including hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems (asthma), musculoskeletal diseases (arthritis) and some forms of cancer, and mortality also increases progressively once the overweight threshold is crossed (Sassi, 2010). Social determinants of health such as poverty, inadequate water and sanitation, and inequitable access to education and health services underlie malnutrition. A key driver of the increasing obesity epidemic is a changing food environment, in which nutrient poor and energy dense processed foods are aggressively marketed, readily available and often cheaper than healthier alternatives. The economic priorities and policies that promote consumption-based growth, and the regulatory policies that promote market and trade liberalisation are increasingly regarded as contributing to the global rise of obesity too (Swinburn et al., 2011).



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