Obesity is taking over the world!

I just read an article that shocked me. Growing up, I was always made aware of just how many hungry children were out starving every night in the world, so I needed to think about them before refusing to eat the food that was made for me. Needless to say, I (up until this point) have always “known” that there are people who have to go without food for days on end.

A study has found that, for the first time, there are more obese people in the world than underweight ones. The research was published in the Lancet.
The percentage of people who are dangerously underweight has gone down pretty dramatically in the last 40 years.
last 40 years.

The percentage of people who are dangerously underweight has gone down pretty dramatically in the last 40 years.

BuzzFeed / The Lancet / Via thelancet.com

People are defined as “underweight”, medically speaking, if they have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5.

Your BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in metres.

That’s obviously good news – it means fewer people are malnourished or starving. However, there is a flip sided. At the same time, lots more people have become obese.

 

That's obviously good news – it means fewer people are malnourished or starving. However, there is a flip side. At the same time, lots more people have become obese.

BuzzFeed / The Lancet / Via thelancet.com

Barely one person in 25 was obese – defined as having a BMI over 30 – in 1975. Now that figure is about one person in seven. BMI isn’t a perfect measure of whether someone’s obese, because it doesn’t take into account whether their weight is due to fat or muscle. But it correlates well with the health problems.

As the Lancet notes, high BMI and obesity is linked with “cardiovascular and kidney diseases, diabetes, some cancers, and musculoskeletal disorders”.

I’m certainly not understating the fact that there are many, many people in the world who are severely malnourished, I just find it saddening that in reading the article further, the obesity epidemic is spreading mainly in the rich, English speaking countries like the US, UK and Australia. This brings more attention than is needed to a disease of indulgence, where we should be focusing on bringing some supplies and relief to those who need it to survive.

What can WE do about it though? We can focus on ourselves and those around us, and try to be as healthy as possible. Obesity is a proven killer, but it can be defeated. Try to get good eating and exercise habits instilled into your daily way of life, and do the same for your kids. We have to teach our children a different lifestyle so they have a long, promising future, instead of a life cut short too soon.

For more on the article, please visit Buzzfeed.com

Images sourced from same article.

Featured image Copyright: lculig / 123RF Stock Photo

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