Obesity: not just a rich-world problem | The Economist

Obesity: not just a rich-world problem | The Economist


People are fatter than ever Obesity has more than doubled since 1980 But the biggest rise is in the developing world Anyone with a body mass index or BMI over 30 is considered obese The higher your BMI the greater your risk of developing weight related diseases like diabetes and heart disease Nearly half the world’s overweight and obese children under 5 years old live in Asia And in Africa the number of overweight children under five has increased by nearly 50% since 2000 Hunger still blights many parts of the world, but the share of people who do not have enough to eat is in decline Globally one in nine people who suffer from chronic undernourishment one in 10 are obese If current trends continue the share of obese children will surpass the number of undernourished by 2022 Africa has the fastest growing middle class in the world They move from traditional foods to high-calorie fast food and a more sedentary lifestyle is driving the rise in obesity Fast-food outlets like KFC and McDonald’s have seen rapid growth on the continent Women appear to be most affected more than half of women in Botswana are overweight Ethiopia known for its terrible famine has seen obesity rates in women rise by 600 percent since 1984 Health systems in Africa more focused on treating malnourishment and diseases like malaria and HIV are ill-equipped to deal with obesity related illnesses like heart disease and diabetes Pacific Islands have the highest obesity rates in the world. Thanks to the spread of Western fast food Diets which a generation ago largely consisted of fish and coconuts are now dominated by processed meat Nauru is top of the list Sixty-one percent of the population are obese making this tiny paradise island the world’s fattest nation Cook Islands take second place with an obesity rate of 56% and Marshall Islands come in third with 53% The middle east is also in the grip of an obesity crisis In Saudi Arabia Qatar and Kuwait more than the third of the population is obese Obesity is already a global epidemic and is rapidly spreading from the rich world to the poor

63 thoughts on “Obesity: not just a rich-world problem | The Economist

  1. In this globalized world not only economies are linked so do their lifestyle. As cultural exchanges happen diseases are not endemic now to a region. So what can be a possible solution?

  2. In this globalized world not only economies are linked so do their lifestyle. As cultural exchanges happen diseases are not endemic now to a region. So what can be a possible solution?

  3. You seem to downplay starvation to emphasize your points about obesity. It seems western fast food is far better at distributing affordable food than any of these governments. No kidding, if you eat 3 fast food meals or more per day including soda and fries, or 3 pieces of pizza, etc, you're going to get fat! Most of these chains have a basic burger choice and usually that smaller burger is under 500 calories. It is individuals that choose to order the larger items, every meal, every day along with all the soda and sides. Anyone that has actually succeeded at lowering their weight to get out of obesity will tell you it is really about consuming less overall calories. Demonizing certain foods or food companies is a cop out. It is too many calories period! Exercise helps burn some and makes one feel and function far better, great to do no doubt. But this idea that you can eat all you want if you exercise in false. If you're a parent, and you allow your kids to eat 800 to 1000 calories, 3, 4 or 5 times per day, it is the parent that is at fault and has failed their children. Yes, when there is an abundance of anything people must show restraint and use their brains and not over consume. Obese people are not victims, they have absolute control but choose not to do what it takes to get their weight to a normal level. Playing the victim allows them to continue their comfort eating habits and not take personal responsibility for their own health.

  4. It's not the processed meat that's making developing nations obese, it's the overwhelming added-carbohydrate content of western diets that is affecting them so negatively.

  5. It's interesting that obesity has doubled since the 1980 and 1977 is when the U.S started pushing the unscientific food guide pyramid!

  6. Silver lining: rising obesity rates is usually an indicator of rising incomes.

    It's not unlike how rates of death by heart disease correlates with rising life spans.

  7. why don't you tell the people why those islands have to use processed meats? thanks to Americas nuclear testing operations in those atolls like bikini atoll which destroyed the islands biodiversity and the food which those people relied on and now the US military occupies those islands as strategic military bases forcing those people to live in terrible conditions and poor diets.

  8. Obesity is not driven by calories, but rather by increasing amount of carbohydrates, particularly highly processed carbohydrates. It seems to be no accident that the obesity epidemic began to be obvious within a few years of the US Government Dietary Guidelines of the early 70s. This demonised fat consumption and encouraged carbohydrate consumption – all on the basis of zero scientifically robust evidence.

  9. People need to realize that it’s in human nature to love high-calorie food. It’s not the corporates’ fault that the consumer want to consume fatty foods.

  10. The message is important. However, the presentation isn't one of The Economist's best. The transitions remind me of an amiture movie making software kit with dimond wipes and flipping checkerboard cuts. Also, I wish the video had more details about causes and solutions. Basically all I got was that the developing world is more obese than I thought and it could be due to fast food.

  11. "If current trends continue, obese children will soon outnumber those who our undernourished."
    That's a pretty unfortunate comparison to draw. No one likes the specter of obese children, but I'd take it over the horror of undernourished ones.

  12. Could the weight problem be due to the fact that being thin is a stigma in developing countries? If so, the trend will probably slowly reverse itself in many of these countries sometime after 2022 (the estimated year when obesity becomes more common than undernourishment). Obesity for other reasons is a mainly Western phenomenon probably rooted in serious moral decline (poor self-control resulting in ubiquitous failure to take responsibility for the long-term consequences of one's immediate choices. A morally sound or psychologically stable people think months or years in advance of the present moment in areas where at least moderate prosperity is nearly certain).

  13. It's OK…. I'm sure the poorer nations will have the "fat acceptance' movement as well. Where they'll just tell themselves that "big is beautiful" lol

  14. We can solve this. What was harder to do so far? Ending hunger, or eating healthy. I'd say ending hunger. If we can do that, then we can certainly improve health

  15. It's crazy that people would even want to look fat and unhealthy when all they need to do is eat less.
    I'll take the fish and coconut diet…

  16. Interesting but the reason why the obesity rate is skyrocketing in Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands and Asia is more about the physiology of the people than fast food. Human beings have evolved with feast or famine access to food until the 20th century and now these populations have unlimited access to food their physiologies aren't used to it and now obesity is skyrocketing and the attendant health problems are too.

  17. People need to think about their FREQUENCY of eating that is not natural for the human body. Intermittent fasting is the answer

  18. East asia is the best! Korea and japan are super rich but they kept eating their traditional healthy food

  19. Obesity is not as simple as calories in calories out or carb counts. Studies show that underweight babies have higher chances of developing extra abdominal fat, obesity, and diabetes. In the womb, a baby is genetically programmed to store extra fat if the mother is undernourished. This will take generations to fix.

  20. Fructose is a toxin like alcohol is. Without fiber that nature puts with fructose (with the exception of honey), our bodies can’t handle the fructose load. Watch the pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Lustig’s video and he explains why he’s seeing young children with non alcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes. The book The Case Against Sugar goes through the history of western disease which is linked to sugar consumption. Type 2 diabetes was unheard of before sugar started being shipped around the world. I eat keto but only because I’ve tore up my body with sugar. Eating a Whole Foods diet without added sugar is the best approach for healthy people.

  21. fucking American talking about the world forgetting that their stupid entrepreneurs are GUILTY!. We gonan boycot McDonalds, and KFC. Ta fuck you think idiot

  22. Simple solution: ban fast food, make possession or consumption a crime, test everyone's fat cells for biosignatures of burger meat or fried food, and give then singapore-type punishments (whippings, life in prison, or even the death penalty) for even one positive test. Bans do work, contrary to you idiot individualists and free-dumb-lovers – just make the punishment harsh enough and it will work. Reinstate prohibition of alcohol too, and also ban video games, internet, TV, all the worthless decadence that LOLbertarians have made legal because of their masochistic desire to harm themselves and let everyone harm themselves.

  23. Ok …. you need to put numbers on the table… not only %…. An increase of 50% can be noting is only 2 persons was initialy obese… see my point?

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