Global obesity rates still high after 33 years
A new study shows that no nation has reduced its obesity rate in 33 years, according to a report published in the New York Times. Nearly 30 percent of the world population is considered overweight and the numbers continue to rise.
The study from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) finds that being obese has caused an estimated 3.4 million deaths in 2010. Since then, the numbers have only increased.
The U.S. has been battling obesity for a long time, and accounts for about 13 percent of the world’s total obese population. The IHME insists that this is a global crisis and should not be taken lightly.
Although the U.S. carries a large percentage of the world’s obesity, 62 percent are from poor or middle-income countries, according to the study. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern countries’ obesity levels have increased the most, the study found.
Researchers analyzed surveys of body mass index (BMI) information from the last 30 years and came to the conclusion that obesity rates will continue to grow. The findings also included that child obesity rates have significantly increased.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity rates in the U.S. have increased, and obesity within 2 to 19-year-olds have not budged since about 2003.
Though the price of eating healthy may be a bit higher than feasting on fast food daily, the investment in health is something that has long-term benefits, says Dr. Paul Ringel, internal medicine physician with Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.
“The benefits far outweigh the added costs,” Dr. Ringel says. “If you think of it in terms of a cost-benefit analysis, the cost of eating healthy is minimal compared to the cost of a heart attack, stroke or cancer.”
Inadequate sleep and the lack of activity are also linked with obesity. Dr. Boguslaw Bonczak, family medicine physician at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill., says that although sleep itself is not a major cause of obesity, it is still a link.
“These behaviors include sedentary activities like watching television, playing video games and snacking on junk food,” Dr. Bonczak says. “It’s mainly the unhealthy behaviors children are doing in place of sleeping that is causing an association between lack of sleep and obesity.”
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