Herbs and Helpers ®

Herbal Services and Solutions | Herbalist | Supplier | Herbs

   Jan 07

Global obesity explosion: Third of adults worldwide are now overweight… and the number has QUADRUPLED since 1980 in the developing world

Those with body mass index of 25-plus are classed as obese or overweight

Obese and overweight adults are at greater risk of heart attacks, strokes, cancers, diabetes and other health-related issues

In the UK, 64 per cent of adults are now classed in this category

A third of adults across the world are now classed as obese or overweight.

A global ‘explosion’ means that 1.46 billion adults across the globe are obese or overweight – meaning they have body mass indexes greater than 25.

In the UK, 64 per cent of adults are classed in this category and are at greater risk of heart attacks, strokes, cancers, diabetes and other health-related issues.

A third of adults – 1.46 billion – across the world are now classed as overweight or obese

In the developing world, the number of obese and overweight adults has quadrupled from 250 million in 1980 to 904 million in 2008.

By contrast, the number of people who were overweight or obese in high-income countries increased by 1.7 times over the same period.

The research was conducted by the Overseas Development Institute, which also warned of the associated health risks of the trend.

It suggested that changing diets and over-consumption of food linked to increased prosperity in the developing world was largely behind the change.

As incomes increase, diets are shifting from cereals and grains to a greater consumption of meats, fats and sugars.

The ODI’s Future Diets report found that the percentage of adults who were overweight or obese globally grew from 23 per cent to 34 per cent between 1980 and 2008.

At the same time, under-nourishment is still a problem for hundreds of millions of people.

Based on World Health Organisation statistics, this graph shows the proportion and percentage of adults across the world classified as obese or overweight, categorised by income

The overweight are at risk of heart attacks, strokes, cancers, diabetes and other health-related issues
‘The over-consumption of food, coupled with lives that are increasingly sedentary, is producing large numbers of people who are overweight and obese – primarily in high-income countries, but also in emerging middle-income countries,’ the report said.

‘Indeed, the world has seen an explosion in overweight and obesity in the past 30 years.’

The ODI examined changing overweight and obesity rates across world regions and by individual country using data published in Population Health Metrics last year, the BBC said.

This revealed that North Africa, the Middle East and Latin America saw overweight and obesity rates increase to a level similar to Europe, around 58 per cent.

At 70 per cent, North America still has the highest percentage of overweight adults, but regions such as Australasia and southern Latin America are catching up, with 63 per cent.

Report author Dr Steve Wiggins said that those with higher incomes had greater ability to choose the foods they want, the BBC said, while changes in lifestyle, increased availability of processed foods and influences such as advertising and media have led to dietary changes, particularly in emerging economies.

With data from Stevens et al., 2012, this graph shows the proportion of adults overweight in 1980 and 2008

This graphic, based on figures from Stevens et al, 2012, shows the changing proportion of obese adults in the developing world (dark orange) compared with the high income world (pale) in millions

The report said: ‘The evidence is well-established: obesity, together with excessive consumption of fat and salt, is linked to the rising global incidence of non-communicable diseases including some cancers, diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

‘What has changed is that the majority of people who are overweight or obese today can be found in the developing, rather than the developed, world.’

The ODI said there was ‘little will’ among the public and leaders to take action to influence future diets, ‘but that may change in the face of serious health implications’.

And it highlighted the ‘paradox of public policy’, saying: ‘In general, there is little appetite amongst politicians or the public in high-income countries to take strong measures to influence future diets.

‘Politicians are fearful of meddling with diets, and alienating farming and food-industry interests. It seems that this reflects public opinion, with many people seeing food choices as a matter of personal freedom.

‘Most people hate to see regulation of the access to favoured foods, see taxation of unhealthy foods and ingredients as onerous and unfair, and acquiesce only in response to public information and education.

‘Couple this with lobbying from food industries, and the political will to affect diets withers.’

The report gave the example of South Korea as having made concerted efforts to preserve healthy elements of the country’s traditional diet, via public campaigns and education, providing large-scale training for women in preparing healthy, traditional food.

Source: Daily Mail

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.