The Whole World Is Getting Fatter, New Survey Finds

May 28, 2014 NBC News

BY MAGGIE FOX

The whole world is steadily becoming more obese, a new study shows, but not surprisingly, the U.S. is No. 1.

The survey of 188 countries shows that nearly 30 percent of the global population, or 2.1 billion people, are either overweight or obese. Not a single country has lowered its obesity rate since 1980, the first of its kind study shows.

And even though the United States accounts for just 5 percent of the world’s total population, Americans make up 13 percent of the global overweight and obese population.

Perhaps most troubling, kids are heavier than ever, the survey by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington finds. The percentage of overweight or obese children and teenagers has increased by nearly 50 percent since 1980 and now more than 22 percent of girls and nearly 24 percent of boys in developed countries are overweight or obese.

[…]

Dr. Derek Yach, executive director of the New York-based Vitality Institute, says the numbers are no surprise. And the explanation is simple.

“The overall message is people are increasingly getting out of energy balance,” Yach, who was not involved in the research, told NBC News. “This is due to excessive intake, usually high in fat and sugar, and a dramatic decline in physical activity. In some parts of the world it is predominately and almost entirely an intake issue.”

But what people are overeating varies from one part of the world to another, says Yach, an obesity expert who worked for PepsiCo for a while. In some places, such as South Africa, it’s starchy food, says Yach, while in parts of Latin America it’s snacks and sugary drinks.

And in countries like China, bike lanes have disappeared to be replaced by roads choked with traffic, Yach added.

[To read full article, click on NBC News link, above.]

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