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Three new studies recently published show that the rate of global obesity has doubled in the past 30 years.
As expected the Western world has had the largest increases but the studies also show that obesity is no longer just a Western problem. Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and South Africa have also shown marked increases. American Samoans are the heaviest while Japanese are the slimmest.
Currently an estimated 10% of men and 14% of women worldwide (343 million and 458 million respectively) are considered obese, compared to 5% of men and 8% of women in 1980. There are also another 1.5 billions adults categorized as overweight. Thats close to 1/4 of the world’s population.
Experts have warned this could lead to massive increases in cardiovascular disease and a host of other medical conditions resulting in tens of millions of deaths and untold billions of $ in health care costs.
The reason for this increase - overeating. Cheaper, lower quality food, year round access to all kinds of different foods and major changes in food production and processing have all contributed to this excessive calorie consumption.
Medication can only good so far in helping to treat some of the problem associated with obesity. Major changes in lifestyles and attitudes towards how we view food are needed. Some options been looked at include lowering salt in processed foods, banning trans fats and even in one US college, requiring overweight students to take a fitness course in order to graduate.