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The Obesity Epidemic

It’s easy to think of obesity as a problem affecting only the wealthiest of nations, but recent research shows that even developing countries are increasingly plagued by expanding waistlines.

The featured analysis discovered that more than half of the world’s obese people congregate in 10 countries: United States, China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan, and Indonesia. The analysis also reveals that:

  • One-third of the global population (about 2.1 billion people) is now overweight or obese, 671 million of which fall into the obese category
  • Worldwide, rates of obesity among children have risen by 50 percent between 1980 and 2013
  • In Tonga, more than half of all adults, both men and women, are obese
  • In Kuwait, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Libya, Qatar, and Samoa, more than half of all women are obese
  • Of the more than 180 countries analyzed, the US carries the heaviest obesity burden, followed by China and India. Obese Americans account for about 13 percent of the world’s obese people, while China and India together account for 15 percent of the total
  • Non-starchy, carb-rich, highly processed foods, along with being in continuous feast mode, are primary drivers of these statistics. Wherever a highly processed food diet becomes the norm, obesity inevitably follows.

Americans are notorious for eating a primarily processed diet, so it’s not surprising that we have the highest obesity rate in the world. What’s worse, the rate of “extreme obesity” in the US (defined here as people with a BMI above 40) has risen by 350 percent over the past few years alone!

It’s also worth noting that it’s the poorest Americans have the highest obesity rates, another indication that there’s something in cheap processed foods that promote weight gain. Sadly, lower food prices apply primarily to packaged processed foods.

And if you base your diet on these foods, you are virtually guaranteed to experience weight gain, as they are loaded with sugar, fructose, and grains, all of which will pack on unnecessary pounds and make it more difficult to get excess weight off.

According to Christopher Murray, one of the authors of a comprehensive new analysis published in The Lancet, all this excess body weight causes an estimated 3.4 million deaths worldwide each year. As noted by Bloomberg:

“The estimated number of overweight or obese people almost tripled from 857 million in 1980 [to 2.1 billion in 2013]… Worldwide prevalence of obesity and overweight rose by 28 percent for adults and by 47 percent for children from 1980 and 2013… ‘The rise in obesity among children is especially troubling in so many low- and middle-income countries,’ Marie Ng, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of Global Health at the University of Washington, said in a statement. ‘We know that there are severe downstream health effects from childhood obesity, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many cancers.”

Yes you did read that right, Cancer is related to obesity!

Are you or someone you care about overweight? Interested in doing something about it? You see it is not about losing weight to get healthy. You need to get your body healthy to lose the weight.

We offer many healthy options to put you on the path to healthy weight loss. Give us a shout so we can tell you more about how we may be able to help.

Yours in health,
Dr. Philip A. Mahan, D.C., C.C.E.P.

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