Approaches to obesity management should be reviewed in light of a new assessment that up to 1.7 billion people worldwide could be overweight or obese, experts have warned.

Professor Philip James, chairman of the London-based International Obesity TaskForce, has said that the revised figure, which is 50% higher than earlier estimates, meant that most governments were ignoring one of the biggest risks to health currently affecting the world’s population.

The revised estimates takes into account a new recommendation from a World Health Organisation expert group, which concluded that obesity-related health risks increase among Asians from a lower body mass index threshold because of their special vulnerability to weight-related disorders.

James went on to say that overall 6.3% of US women, that is one in 16, are morbidly obese.