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Emily Sonestedt

Emily Sonestedt

Associate senior lecturer

Emily Sonestedt

Heterogeneous contributions of change in population distribution of body mass index to change in obesity and underweight


  • M.L.C. Iurilli
  • Aleksander Giwercman
  • Emily Sonestedt
  • Tanja Stocks
  • Sarah L. Filippi

Summary, in English

From 1985 to 2016, the prevalence of underweight decreased, and that of obesity and severe obesity increased, in most regions, with significant variation in the magnitude of these changes across regions. We investigated how much change in mean body mass index (BMI) explains changes in the prevalence of underweight, obesity, and severe obesity in different regions using data from 2896 population-based studies with 187 million participants. Changes in the prevalence of underweight and total obesity, and to a lesser extent severe obesity, are largely driven by shifts in the distribution of BMI, with smaller contributions from changes in the shape of the distribution. In East and Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the underweight tail of the BMI distribution was left behind as the distribution shifted. There is a need for policies that address all forms of malnutrition by making healthy foods accessible and affordable, while restricting unhealthy foods through fiscal and regulatory restrictions. © Copyright.


  • EpiHealth: Epidemiology for Health
  • Reproductive medicine, Malmö
  • Nutrition Epidemiology
  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden
  • Biomarkers and epidemiology
  • Register-based epidemiology

Publishing year








Document type

Journal article


eLife Sciences Publications


  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology



Research group

  • Reproductive medicine, Malmö
  • Nutrition Epidemiology
  • Register-based epidemiology


  • ISSN: 2050-084X