• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Trends over time
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Health systems
  • Actions
Loading data – please wait …

Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2015-2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:18-64
Sample size:151343
Area covered:National
References:ENSIN 2015. Available at https://www.minsalud.gov.co/ (last accessed 05.10.20)
Notes:Sample size includes children
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:43723
Area covered:National (DHS)
References:Demographic Health Survey 2010
Notes:Demographic Health Survey data includes ever married women aged 15-49 years only and may include males aged 15-59.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:18-64
Sample size:162331
Area covered:National
References:ENSIN 2010. Available at https://www.minsalud.gov.co/ (last accessed 05.10.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:38143
Area covered:National
References:Demographic Health Survey 2005
Notes:Other married women 15 - 49 years.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:18-64
Sample size:31105
Area covered:National
References:Kasper NM, Herrán OF, Villamor E. Obesity prevalence in Colombian adults is increasing fastest in lower socio-economic status groups and urban residents: results from two nationally representative surveys. Public Health Nutrition: 17(11), 2398–2406 doi:10.1017/S1368980013003418
Notes:18679 Females12426 Males
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2000

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:3070
References:SCN (2004). 5th Report on the World Nutrition Situation. Nutrition for Improved Development Outcomes. Appendix 11
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 1995

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:3319
References:Martorell R, Khan LK, Hughes ML, Grummer Strawn LM. Obesity in women from developing countries. EJCN (2000) 54;247-252
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:13-17
Sample size:18177
References:Rincón-Pabón, D., Urazán-Hernández, Y., & González-Santamaría, J. (2019). Association between the time spent watching television and the sociodemographic characteristics with the presence of overweight and obesity in Colombian adolescents (secondary analysis of the ENSIN 2010). PloS one, 14(5), e0216455. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216455
Notes:WHO Cut off
Cutoffs:WHO

Overweight/obesity by education

Children, 2006

Survey type:Measured
Age:5-12
Sample size:3202
Area covered:City of Bogotá
References:McDonald CM, Baylin A, Arsenault JE, Mora-Plazas M, Villamor E. Overweight Is More Prevalent Than Stunting and Is Associated with Socioeconomic Status, Maternal Obesity, and a Snacking Dietary Pattern in School Children from Bogotá, Colombia. The Journal of Nutrition. 2009;139(2):370-376. doi:10.3945/jn.108.098111.
Notes:Prevalence of overweight and obesity by Maternal Education. The study population is representative of low- and middle-income families from Bogotá, considering that the public school system enrolled 57% of all primary school children in the city by the end of 2005 and 89% of them were from low- and middle-income families. Child overweight or obesity was defined according to BMI cut-off points for sex and age corresponding to ≥25 in adults, following the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) recommendations
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by age

Adults, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-17
Sample size:18177
References:Rincón-Pabón, D., Urazán-Hernández, Y., & González-Santamaría, J. (2019). Association between the time spent watching television and the sociodemographic characteristics with the presence of overweight and obesity in Colombian adolescents (secondary analysis of the ENSIN 2010). PloS one, 14(5), e0216455. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216455
Notes:WHO Cut off
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:91115
Area covered:National
References:Nicole M Kasper, Oscar F Herrán and Eduardo Villamor (2014). Obesity prevalence in Colombian adults is increasing fastest in lower socio-economic status groups and urban residents: results from two nationally representative surveys. Public Health Nutrition, 17, pp 2398-2406. doi:10.1017/S1368980013003418.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:13-14
Sample size:18177
References:Rincón-Pabón, D., Urazán-Hernández, Y., & González-Santamaría, J. (2019). Association between the time spent watching television and the sociodemographic characteristics with the presence of overweight and obesity in Colombian adolescents (secondary analysis of the ENSIN 2010). PloS one, 14(5), e0216455. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216455
Notes:WHO Cut off
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 2006

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:3202
Area covered:City of Bogotá
References:McDonald CM, Baylin A, Arsenault JE, Mora-Plazas M, Villamor E. Overweight Is More Prevalent Than Stunting and Is Associated with Socioeconomic Status, Maternal Obesity, and a Snacking Dietary Pattern in School Children from Bogotá, Colombia. The Journal of Nutrition. 2009;139(2):370-376. doi:10.3945/jn.108.098111.
Notes:The study population is representative of low- and middle-income families from Bogotá, considering that the public school system enrolled 57% of all primary school children in the city by the end of 2005 and 89% of them were from low- and middle-income families. Child overweight or obesity was defined according to BMI cut-off points for sex and age corresponding to ≥25 in adults, following the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) recommendations
Cutoffs:Other

Overweight/obesity by region

Adults, 2015-2016

Survey type:Measured
Age:18-64
Sample size:151343
Area covered:National
References:ENSIN 2015. Available at https://www.minsalud.gov.co/ (last accessed 05.10.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:18-64
Sample size:91115
Area covered:National
References:Nicole M Kasper, Oscar F Herrán and Eduardo Villamor (2014). Obesity prevalence in Colombian adults is increasing fastest in lower socio-economic status groups and urban residents: results from two nationally representative surveys. Public Health Nutrition, 17, pp 2398-2406. doi:10.1017/S1368980013003418.
Notes:
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:18-64
Sample size:91115
Area covered:National
References:Nicole M Kasper, Oscar F Herrán and Eduardo Villamor (2014). Obesity prevalence in Colombian adults is increasing fastest in lower socio-economic status groups and urban residents: results from two nationally representative surveys. Public Health Nutrition, 17, pp 2398-2406. doi:10.1017/S1368980013003418.
Notes:
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:13-17
Sample size:18177
References:Rincón-Pabón, D., Urazán-Hernández, Y., & González-Santamaría, J. (2019). Association between the time spent watching television and the sociodemographic characteristics with the presence of overweight and obesity in Colombian adolescents (secondary analysis of the ENSIN 2010). PloS one, 14(5), e0216455. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216455
Notes:WHO Cut off
Cutoffs:WHO

Overweight/obesity by socio-economic group

Adults, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:18-64
Sample size:91115
Area covered:National
References:Nicole M Kasper, Oscar F Herrán and Eduardo Villamor (2014). Obesity prevalence in Colombian adults is increasing fastest in lower socio-economic status groups and urban residents: results from two nationally representative surveys. Public Health Nutrition, 17, pp 2398-2406. doi:10.1017/S1368980013003418.
Notes:Obesity prevalence by wealth index quintile.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:13-17
Sample size:18177
References:Rincón-Pabón, D., Urazán-Hernández, Y., & González-Santamaría, J. (2019). Association between the time spent watching television and the sociodemographic characteristics with the presence of overweight and obesity in Colombian adolescents (secondary analysis of the ENSIN 2010). PloS one, 14(5), e0216455. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216455
Notes:WHO Cut off
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 2006

Survey type:Measured
Age:5-12
Sample size:3202
Area covered:City of Bogotá
References:McDonald CM, Baylin A, Arsenault JE, Mora-Plazas M, Villamor E. Overweight Is More Prevalent Than Stunting and Is Associated with Socioeconomic Status, Maternal Obesity, and a Snacking Dietary Pattern in School Children from Bogotá, Colombia. The Journal of Nutrition. 2009;139(2):370-376. doi:10.3945/jn.108.098111.
Notes:Prevalence of overweight and obesity by household socio-economic stratum. The study population is representative of low- and middle-income families from Bogotá, considering that the public school system enrolled 57% of all primary school children in the city by the end of 2005 and 89% of them were from low- and middle-income families. Child overweight or obesity was defined according to BMI cut-off points for sex and age corresponding to ≥25 in adults, following the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) recommendations
Cutoffs:IOTF

Insufficient physical activity

Adults, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Men, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Women, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Children, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Boys, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Girls, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Estimated per-capita fruit intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita fruit intake (g/day)

Estimated per-capita processed meat intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita processed meat intake (g per day)

Estimated per-capita whole grains intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita whole grains intake (g/day)

Mental health - depression disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with depression disorders

Mental health - anxiety disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with anxiety disorders

Oesophageal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Breast cancer

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, breast, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Colorectal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Pancreatic cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Gallbladder cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Kidney cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Cancer of the uterus

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, cervix uteri, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Raised blood pressure

Adults, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Men, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Women, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Raised cholesterol

Adults, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Men, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Women, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Raised fasting blood glucose

Men, 2014-2019

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Women, 2014-2019

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Diabetes prevalence

Adults, 2017

References:Reproduced with kind permission of IDF, International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. http://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative prevalence (%).

Health systems

Economic classification: Upper Middle Income

Health systems summary

Colombia’s health system is dominated by its General Social Security Health System that consists of 3 plans: a contributory plan for workers, a subsidised plan for those who cannot pay and a third plan for workers from certain institutions. Enrolment into this system is compulsory, and so coverage is high. In 2015, coverage was 97.6%. Members of the plans are entitled to similar benefits, benefits that include health promotion, prevention, medication and cash benefits during maternity. Members of the subsidised plan have an inferior benefit package to contributory members. As a result of the aforementioned social health insurance plans, Colombia has made great strides in improving healthcare access and financial protection. Out of pocket expenditure as a proportion of total health expenditure is approximately 15.9%.

Colombia, however, has several vulnerable populations (mostly in rural, remote areas) that still have poor access to care and are at high risk of nutritional deficiencies. These groups include indigenous groups, farmers and Afro-descendent groups.

Indicators

Where is the country’s government in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
Where is the country’s healthcare provider in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
Is there specialist training available dedicated to the training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage obesity?Some progress
Have any taxes or subsidies been put in place to protect/assist/inform the population around obesity?No
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in urban areas?Some progress
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in rural areas?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for adults?Yes
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for children?Yes
In practice, how is obesity treatment largely funded?Not known

Perceived barriers to treatment

  • Obesity not recognised as a disease
  • High cost of out of pocket payments
  • Lack of training and trained HCPs
  • Lack of political will, interest and action
  • HCPs are disinterested in obesity training and treatment
  • Poor adherence to and fear of treatment
  • Resistance to innovation
  • Lack of evidence, monitoring and research

Summary of stakeholder feedback

In 2009, Colombia passed an ‘obesity law’ that calls obesity a disease and outlines policies and initiatives that should be undertaken for the prevention and control of obesity. Still, one stakeholder feels that the government is too supportive of food producers and multinational companies and there is a general consensus that there is much more work to be done around prevention and treatment. There is said to be little financial investment into the cause.

It is unclear how obesity treatment is typically funded in Colombia, but cost was highlighted as a barrier to treatment. There was a lack of consensus on the BMI level required to be eligible for treatment and how those living with obesity enter the system, but it was agreed that long waiting lists were often the reason why they left.

While there does not appear to be specialist obesity training in Colombia, stakeholders reported that there is some obesity training for certain professionals such as endocrinologists.

Based on interviews/survey returns from 4 stakeholders

Last updated: June 2020

Download this information as a PDF

Actions

Law No 1355 for the Prevention of Obesity in Colombia

Law No 1355 for the Prevention of Obesity in Colombia

Categories:Evidence of National Obesity Strategy/Policy or Action
Year(s):2009 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Government
Linked document:Download linked document

Food Guidelines for the Colombian Population

Launched in 2000 and updated in 2014, the Food Guidelines for the Colombian population over 2 years of age are represented through the "Healthy Dish of the Colombian Family" icon, which invites the population to gather in the family to consume fresh and varied foods of its 6 food groups.

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Year(s):2000 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Colombian Institute of Family Wellness
Find out more:www.icbf.gov.co
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Colombia [Internet]. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. [cited 2020 Jul 22]. Available from: http://www.fao.org/nutrition/education/food-dietary-guidelines/regions/countries/Colombia/en

No actions could be found for the above criteria.

Loading