Health at a Glance: Latin America and the Caribbean 2020

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Health at a Glance: Latin America and the Caribbean 2020 presents key indicators on health and health systems in 33 Latin America and the Caribbean countries. This first Health at a Glance publication to cover the Latin America and the Caribbean region was prepared jointly by OECD and the World Bank. Analysis is based on the latest comparable data across almost 100 indicators including equity, health status, determinants of health, health care resources and utilisation, health expenditure and financing, and quality of care. The editorial discusses the main challenges for the region brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as managing the outbreak as well as mobilising adequate resources and using them efficiently to ensure an effective response to the epidemic. An initial chapter summarises the comparative performance of countries before the crisis, followed by a special chapter about addressing wasteful health spending that is either ineffective or does not lead to improvement in health outcomes so that to direct saved resources where they are urgently needed.

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Overweight and obese adults

Overweight and obesity are major public health concerns as the global epidemic has far-reaching consequences for individuals, society and the economy. Obesity is an established risk factor for numerous health conditions, including hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, skeletal diseases and some forms of cancer, and mortality also increases progressively once the overweight threshold is crossed. Therefore, obesity and overweight reduces life expectancy, increases health care costs, decreases workers’ productivity and lowers countries’ GDP (OECD, 2019[18]). Worldwide, 39% of men and 39% of women in 2016 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. Forty-one million children under the age of five were overweight or obese in 2016; while over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5‑19 were overweight or obese. Both overweight and obesity have shown a marked increase over the las four decades (WHO, 2018[19]).

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