As a species we are round, plump, overweight, porky, of ample proportions, jelly-bellied, elephanty- call it what you want. We are fat! We have evolved from scavenging bushes and laboriously hunting animals to survive a few more worrisome nights, to covering ourselves in chocolate and cream for sexual pleasure, all in the blink of a cosmic eye.
With that image in mind, hang on to your flab world, I have some back breaking news: it’s official, we are obnoxiously, and fatally fat. The shocking truth is that we are now so fat that obesity is currently a bigger global health crisis than hunger. It’s official, according to a new study from The Lancet, obesity the leading cause of disabilities around the world. The health burden from high body mass indexes now exceeds that due to hunger. The ‘big boned’ excuse isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Approximately 500 researchers from 50 different countries compiled health date from 1990 to 2010 into the Global Burden of Disease report. The numbers aren’t pretty.
Despite showing extremely high global immunization rates, the report revealed that:
Every country, with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, faces alarming obesity rates — an increase of 82% globally in the past two decades. Middle Eastern countries are more obese than ever, seeing a 100% increase since 1990.
Ali Mokdad, co-author of the study, explains that:
The so-called ‘Western lifestyle’ is being adapted all around the world, and the impacts are all the same.
So what has obesity paved the way for as far as impacts go? For the first time in history, noncommunicable diseases like heart disease and diabetes are the top reasons for years spent sick.
Mokdad added that:
All these problems are tied to obesity. We’re even seeing a large percentage of people suffering back pain now. If we could lower the obesity rates, we’d see the numbers of noncommunicable diseases and pain decrease as well.
The report wasn’t all negative at least. People are living much longer than what was projected in 1990. Men have gained 10.7 years of life and women have gained 12.6. But, even those numbers are tinged by obesity, as the quality of life during old age has dramatically decreased. On average, people all over the world suffer from illness and pain for the last 14 years of life.
Mokdad points out that:
We’ve figured out how to keep the person who suffered a stroke alive, but then they’re living disabled for years afterward. That’s not the quality of life that person expected.
Noncommunicable diseases are a huge problem for the world economy and your pocket as well. A 2011 report from the World Economic Forum and Harvard School of Public Health outlines how these diseases will account for $30 trillion over the next twenty years, with an additional $16 trillion in mental health care costs.
Health professional say that stress is the greatest killer, and obesity is one of the most harmful stresses we can put on our bodies and lives. Let’s make sure we are addressing this issue on all levels, communally and individually.
Here is my number one hint in 2013 for losing weight and becoming healthier overall; drop the soda-pop.
Take your last high fructose filled gulp and never look back.
CNN: Global report: Obesity bigger health crisis than hunger
The Lancet: Global Burden of Disease Study 2010
World Economic Forum: The Global Economic Burden of Non-communicable Diseases
CNN: Time to address a neglected global epidemic
HuffPost: Soda, Other Sugary Drinks More Firmly Tied To Obesity In New Studies
Wondergressive: Obesity and Low Carb Fads: Where Did We Go Wrong? (Part 1)