A new survey suggests that the number of overweight and obese adults in the developing world has almost quadrupled to around one billion since 1980.
UK think tank the Overseas Development Institute said one in three people worldwide was now overweight and urged governments to do more to influence diets.
In the UK, 64 percent of adults are classed as being overweight or obese, the BBC reported.
The report predicts a “huge increase” in heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.
Globally, the percentage of adults who were overweight or obese - classed as having a body mass index greater than 25 - grew from 23% to 34% between 1980 and 2008.
The majority of this increase was seen in the developing world, particularly in countries where incomes were rising, such as Egypt and Mexico.
The ODI’s Future Diets report says this is due to changing diets and a shift from eating cereals and grains to the consumption of more fats, sugar, oils and animal produce.
A total of 904 million people in developing countries are now classed as overweight or above, with a BMI of more than 25, up from 250 million in 1980.
This compares to 557 million in high-income countries. Over the same period, the global population nearly doubled.
The regions of North Africa, the Middle East and Latin America saw large increases in overweight and obesity rates to a level on a par with Europe, around 58 percent.
While North America still has the highest percentage of overweight adults at 70%, regions such as Australasia and southern Latin America are now not far behind with 63%.
The greatest growth in overweight people occurred in south east Asia, where the percentage tripled from a lower starting point of 7% to 22%.
The report is published in Population Health Metrics.