Obesity Up Around the World
Written by Editor   
Thursday, June 05, 2014 07:04 AM

More than 2 billion people in the world are now overweight or obese, up from less than a billion a few decades ago, according to a new global report.  The new figure more than doubles the 857 million overweight or obese people that were estimated in 1980.

The problem started with the advent of wider availability of food in the late 1970s.  "Over the past decades, the modernization of our world, with all the technology around us, has led to physical inactivity on all levels. It is well known that people who stop exercising lose the control of their food intake, whereas those who continue exercising eat adequately in relation to their energy needs.

"Especially in developed countries, the availability of food increased everywhere in the late 1970s and this was further exaggerated in the following decades -- with a substantial increase in the influence of 'fast food.  The result of these developments are that in today's society many children -- and indeed adults -- no longer build up enough muscle mass and functionality, and have lost the culture of 'classical eating,' which has instead been replaced by uncontrolled food intake with a snacking and eating culture spread over the whole day."

Between 1980 and 2013, worldwide overweight and obesity rose from about 29% to 40% in men and from 30% to 38% in women. But the tide may be turning, at least in developed countries, the researchers said. The greatest global gains happened between 1992 and 2002, mostly in people ages 20 to 40, and there's some evidence of a slowdown in the years since.

Unfortunately in developing countries, waistlines are still expanding and are expected to continue doing so. The greatest increases in obesity levels among women have been in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Honduras, and Bahrain, and among men in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, as well as the U.S. and New Zealand.

Also, at least half of men in Tonga and half of women in Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, and the Pacific Islands of Kiribati, Micronesia, and Samoa are overweight or obese, the researchers said.  With regard to gender, men have higher rates of obesity in the developed world, but in the developing world, women are heavier, they reported. As for children, almost a quarter of kids across the globe were overweight or obese in 2013, they added.

Source:  http://www.medpagetoday.com/Endocrinology/Obesity/46043