Overview of why obesity is an alarming epidemic in the world.
If you take a close look at the media, it is easy to see that at the present time, many experts call obesity as the “silent killer” on the planet. In order to see how it corresponds to the truth, let’s look at the statistics.
Obesity in the World
As defined by World Health Organization (WHO), obesity and/or overweight are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health.
According to official data of the WHO (report Nr. 311), the number of obese people has increased twice since 1980. In 2008, the total number of people who suffer from being overweight, was 1.4 billion people (aged 20 years and older). Among these people 200 million men and 300 million women were obese. On average (worldwide) more than 10% of the world population are obese.
Similarly, in 2011 the worldwide there was at least 40 million children under age 5 who are overweight or may have become obese if their parents to take no action.
WHO projects that by 2015, about 2 billion adults may be overweight and more than 700 million people may be obese.
All these data suggest that, globally, there was a significant increase in the prevalence of obesity over the past 20 years. We can read the following statistics that point to the growing threat of the epidemic of obesity in specific North American and European countries.
Obesity in the USA
National Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Atlanta, GA regularly examine the health and nutrition of the U.S. population, and conduct surveys among residents.
As defined by CDC, obesity is labels for ranges of weight that is greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data brief 2003-2006, 20007-2008, 2007-2010, more than two-thirds of U.S. adults were overweight and over one-third were obese. According to the same ratings in recent years:
- 72 percent of all people in the U.S. were overweight,
- 68 percent of all adults in the U.S. were overweight,
- 64 percent of all women in the U.S. were overweight.
Similarly, more than one-third of older adults aged 65 and over were obese in 2007-2010.
If we have a look at the data on obesity, then we can get the following picture. In accordance with the same statistics, more than one third of the adult U.S. population are obese, which means include:
- 33 percent of all U.S. adults were obese,
- 35 percent of all women in the U.S. were obese,
- 32 percent of all men in the U.S. were obese.
The problem of obesity is increasing worldwide, but in the U.S. this problem has become very serious. Statistically, obesity increases the mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes.
U.S. federal authorities attach great importance to the issue of combating obesity. For example, the First Lady is actively combating obesity among children and military personnel. American advocates of a healthy lifestyle say that loud campaign First Lady helped to attract a lot of attention to this problem.
Obesity in the UK
The UK National Health Service (NHS) provides a definition that obesity is “a term used to describe somebody who is very overweight with a high degree of body fat”.
According to various sources on the UK since 1980, the British prevalence of obesity in adults has increased by three or four times. Surveys conducted by the NHS, showed that in 2012 almost 26% of adults in England were obese. Obesity is also a big problem for British children, of which one in seven children were classified as obese.
The prevalence of obesity cases are different among residents of England and Scotland. For example, the British data suggest that the incidence of obesity in these regions is similar in men and boys at 22 percent and 18 percent, respectively. A rate of obesity in the Scottish women is 19 percent higher than in British women. Among girls, the prevalence of obesity is 30 percent higher in England than in Scotland, too.
From the British point of view, some of the main reasons for the growing population of obesity in the high-income countries and peoples may include:
- Reduced physical activity due to the sedentary nature of many types of work in the office.
- Reduction of physical activity at home on vacation, people spend more time watching TV, playing video games, browsing on the Internet.
- To an increasing degree of urbanization, due to changes in modes of transportation people are walking less and travel more often in transport.
- More reliance on low-cost high-calorie fast food as a daily source of nutrition.
If we look at the countries with low- and middle-income levels, we can observe similar trends, too. In modern days the situation in these countries is changing faster and faster as compared to the past century. This is especially evident in highly urban environments. Modern life in these countries leads to a tendency to consume more foods rich in fat and sugar, plus there is a lack of access to sport and fitness centers.
If I sum up, then all of the above, it is clear that obesity is now growing almost as an epidemic. This is mainly due to the rapidly rising prices, especially in the developed countries. Treatment with medication and active surgery are becoming more common. Unfortunately, these methods are not suitable for all people. While experts do not resolve the underlying causes of obesity, even among the accessible portion of the population. And people are actively looking for alternative methods for weight loss.
U.K. National Health Service website www.nhs.uk
U.N. World Health Organization website www.who.int
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website www.cdc.gov