For the First Time in Human History: Obesity Bigger Health Problem than Hunger

Obesity is a Global Problem

Here’s a scary stat for you this morning: Obesity rates grew 82% globally in the last 20 years. It was bound to happen. Emerging economies have moved hundreds of millions of people from abject poverty to comfortable middle class. An unfortunate side effect has been a swift shift from “starved” to “stuffed”.

Last week CNN ran a story on this matter:

Noncommunicable diseases are a global challenge of “epidemic proportions,” according to Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization. In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly last year, she said NCDs are a “slow-motion disaster” that eventually could break the bank. Read more…

The problem is that the “western lifestyle” is what every poor person strives for. And that includes our junk food and supersized fast foods. Theoretically, everyone should be happy – the western food brands have found growth markets instead of stagnant local economies, and the formerly famished are now overjoyed to be eating meat on a regular basis. Perfect market economy.

With no easy way to measure the financial value of prevention, it will be hard to turn this ship around.

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  • West is Best (not)

    Wow… what an insulting post.

    “the ‘western lifestyle’ is what every poor person strives for”
    Really? I didn’t realize Fooducate is now an authority on poverty and globalization. That statement is so disgustingly privileged and ignorant.

    “the formerly famished are now overjoyed to be eating meat on a regular basis”
    Also insulting. There are a lot of people in the developing world who are vegetarians by choice. And I’m pretty sure a lot of the people you call poor and famished do eat meat on a regular basis, it’s just not the quantities people in the U.S. consume.

    Basing anything on BMI statistics is complete crap. That is a useless, non-scientific measurement and it’s pretty sad that everyone uses it so much when it really means nothing.

  • http://twitter.com/yumtacos yumtacos

    Interesting that you use percentages of total population, but actual total population numbers are nowhere to be found. If they were, you’d see that there are still far more people struggling with hunger and dying from lack of calories and nutrition in developing countries than the overall combined “wealthy” obese populations of the nations illustrated.

    This just shows how easy it is to lie with statistics.

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