Obesity Is a Global Epidemic

obesityAccording to the recent global analysis, obesity epidemic is growing larger. The results of the analysis show that almost one-third of the world is now fat and even more, there is not a single country that was successful in lowering the obesity rates in the last 30 years.

More than 2 billion people worldwide are now obese or overweight, according to the researchers. The highest rates were in North Africa and in the Middle East, where nearly 65 percent of women and 60 percent of men are heavy. The U.S. has about 13 percent of the world’s fat population, a bigger percentage than any other country. India and China together have about 15 percent.

Christopher Murray from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington led the study and he said that the situation is pretty grim. Murray and his colleagues reviewed more than 1,700 studies which were covering 188 countries from 1980 to 2013. Murray said that they came to realize that over the years, not a single country had a significant decline in obesity and that proves just how hard this challenge is.

According to Murray, they found a strong link between income and obesity. As people earn more, they start spending more money for food and as a result, they start gaining weight. He added that scientists also noticed accompanying spikes in diabetes. Furthermore, rates of cancers which are linked to weight are also rising.

The report of a new global analysis is also available online, in the medical journal Lancet. The analysis was paid by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In the light of new discoveries, the World Health Organization (WHO) established a high-level commission, which is tasked to end childhood obesity.

During a speech at the WHO’s annual meeting in Geneva earlier this year, its Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan, said that children are getting fatter and that parts of the world are literally eating themselves to death. According to a WHO’s statement, also from earlier this year, no more than 5 percent of daily calories should come from sugar.

Syed Shah, an obesity expert at United Arab Emirates University, came to the conclusion that in the last two decades, obesity rates jumped five times, even in the remote and sparsely populated Pakistan villages in Himalaya. He said that modernization was in no way good for health, because for example, in the past, people had to walk for miles if they wanted to call someone, but everybody has a mobile phone today.

Shah’s research was presented at a conference in Bulgaria earlier this year. He added that the villagers no longer have to rely on their own farms for food, because there are roads for companies to bring in their processed foods and so people do not have to slaughter their own animals for meat and oil. Shah concluded his thoughts by saying that 20 years ago no one knew about Coke and Pepsi, but now it is everywhere.

The fact is that obesity is a global problem and it is only getting worse. People do not take the time to cook a meal anymore, because it is easier to order fast food or make something in the microwave. However, sooner or later, people will have to realize that obesity can lead to some serious illnesses and by then, it may be too late to start eating healthy and to recreate more.

By: Janette Verdnik

The Lancet
The Wesleyan Argus

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