Global Obesity Tops 900 million in Poor Countries

January 3rd, 2014 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

A UK think tank, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), has issued a sobering report on the global epidemic of obesity. Over one third of all adults across the world – 1.46 billion people – are obese or overweight. Between 1980 and 2008, the numbers of people affected in the developing world more than tripled, from 250 million to 904 million. In high-income countries the numbers increased by 1.7 times over the same period.

• Diets are changing wherever incomes are rising in the developing world, with a marked shift from cereals and tubers to meat, fats and sugar, as well as fruit and vegetables.

• While the forces of globalisation have led to a creeping homogenisation in diets, their continued variation suggests that there is still scope for policies that can influence the food choices that people make.

• Future diets that are rich in animal products, especially meat, will push up prices for meat, but surprisingly, not for grains. This suggests that future diets may matter more for public health than for agriculture.

• There seems to be little will among public and leaders to take the determined action that is needed to influence future diets, but that may change in the face of the serious health implications. Combinations of moderate measures in education, prices and regulation may achieve far more than drastic action of any one type.

For the report, click here. For more on the global obesity epidemic, see “global obesity.”

Another think tank has projected substantial increases in leading industrial countries.

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