I read a lot of news articles and scan a ton of websites every day. I have been reading a lot about obesity and its effect throughout the world. America is leading the way, but our actions are now filtering into other countries changing the way people eat. Too bad it is not changing lives in a good way.
Here is a chunk from this Canadian column that I found interesting:
The numbers paint a disturbing picture. The United Nations says there are now more overweight people in the world than starving people. Cardiovascular disease – commonly caused by obesity – kills 17 million people every year. Type II diabetes fatalities are expected to grow by 50 per cent in the next decade.
Obesity is not new, but what’s surprising is that it now plagues the developing world, too. Obesity is on a dramatic rise in poor states, as impoverished locals are increasingly introduced to mass-produced imported food that’s often cheaper than their local fare.
“It’s a huge problem,” says Erin Blanding, a development expert and head of Life in Action, a Toronto-based health and lifestyle program. “Eating unhealthy food is what you do when you are poor.”
Processed food is becoming a staple in the diets of many developing countries, much of it coming from Western factories. Visit a local market in places like Ecuador or Malawi and you’re just as likely to see imported sugary cereals and juices as local produce. Outside, Big Macs are taking the place of traditionally prepared plantains and sweet potato biscuits.
Food high in fat and low in nutrients is cheaply made and easily shipped, which undercuts local prices. But shoppers who cannot afford anything else buy it.
Even rural farmers with access to their own healthy livestock or produce commonly trade what they can for larger quantities of processed food, just to ensure their families have enough to eat.
With this cycle, Blanding explains, “We aren’t giving people the choice to create better and healthier lives for themselves.”
Obesity once was a symbol of Western abundance and indulgence. Today, just as many people are overweight because they are filling their stomachs with whatever they can afford – and what they can afford is making them obese.