Worldwide Obesity

Eighteen million people die from cardiovascular disease every year due to complications from hypertension and diabetes. In the last 20 years obesity has tripled.

In the developing countries, people have adopted the Western lifestyle and measured consumption of large amounts of cheap, high calorie foods.

Obesity and poverty are related in an unexpected way. Those who live in a country with gross national product of $800 per capita suffer from malnutrition. Poor people who live in a country with a gross national product of $3,000 per capita which is a middle income, are at increased risk for obesity.

People in developing countries are underweight as a child and become overweight as adults may be due to a condition called intra-uterine growth retardation. Being born at low-birth weight increases the risk for obesity later in life. The cause is genetic and is precipitated by rapid weight gain as a child. Rapid weight gain contributes to the insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

Because obesity is tripling there is an estimated 16 percent of global health care complications are due to obesity. Approximately $123 billion direct and indirect costs are due to obesity in the United States.

Obesity is the first leading cause of disease in middle income countries such as eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia. The second most common cause of disease in middle income countries is underweight. The countries that are being hit the hardest are India and China. Type 2 diabetes in adults and children is increasing consistently with the increased incidence of obesity.

America is predicted to plateau in comparison to the India and south east Asia. Australia is not predicted to follow the trend of obesity.

The Mainstream is a student publication of Umpqua Community College.