The rise in the prevalence of overweight and obesity (body mass index >or=25 kg m(-2)) is, in part, a negative consequence of the increasing economic developments of many lower- and middle-income countries in the Asia-Pacific region. To date, there has been no systematic quantification of the scale of the problem in countries of this region. From the most recent nationally representative estimates for the prevalence of overweight and obesity in 14 countries of the region, it is apparent that overweight and obesity is endemic in much of the region, prevalence ranging from less than 5% in India to 60% in Australia. Moreover, although the prevalence in China is a third of that in Australia, the increase in prevalence in China over the last 20 years was 400% compared with 20% in Australia. In addition, across various countries in the region, the population attributable fractions because of overweight and obesity ranged from 0.8% to 9.2% for coronary heart disease mortality, 0.2% to 2.9% for haemorrhagic stroke mortality, and 0.9% to 10.2% for ischaemic stroke mortality. These results indicate that consequences of overweight and obesity for health and the economy of many of these countries are likely to increase in coming years.