Sunday, June 18, 2017

On the Effects of Overweight and Obesity (Globally)

  • Last week, the article “Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries over 25 Years was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. 
  • Comments included :"The prevalence of obesity among children and adults has doubled in 73 countries since 1980 and has shown a continuous increase in most other countries …  (Globally more than 2 billion adults and children are overweight or obese), 
  • Our systematic evaluation ...  showed sufficient evidence supporting a causal relationship between high [Body Mass Index] and cancers of the esophaguscolon and rectum, livergallbladder and biliary tractpancreasbreastuterusovarykidney, and thyroid, along with leukemia.
  • In 2015, among the 20 most populous countries, the highest level of age-standardized adult obesity was observed in Egypt (35.3%), and the highest level of age-standardized childhood obesity was observed in the United States (12.7%)
  • China and India had the highest numbers of obese children, whereas the United States and China had the highest numbers of obese adults.
  • The Pew Research Center's article "What’s on your table? How America’s diet has changed" (December 13, 2016) said "Broadly speaking, we eat a lot more than we used to: The average American consumed 2,481 calories a day in 2010, about 23% more than in 1970 ... 
  • Americans consume 29% more grains, mostly in the form of breads, pastries and other baked goods, than they did in 1970 – the equivalent of 122.1 pounds a year ..
  • [American are[ eating a lot more cheese: 21.9 pounds a year, nearly three times the average annual consumption in 1970."
  • The causes of overweight and obesity are complicated (including poor diet, lack of physical activity, genetics, and food additives), but increased consumption, and  changes in what is consumed are significant contributing factors.
  • This is a health crisis that not only results in personal harm, but has a significant negative economic impact by increasing medical costsreducing workforce productivity, as well as causing premature deaths and disabilities.
  • Addressing the problem will require public education to drive lifestyle changes, as well as public policy initiatives to improve access to healthier foods and beverages.

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