Inside Obesity; More than Extreme Overweight

Not just a big belly; an epidemic that has friends
Rahman Mohamed

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2008 more than 1.4 billion adults on Earth over the age of 20 were overweight; over 500 million of them were obese.  In 2011 more than 40 million children under age 5 were overweight.  That means that those who overweight had a Body Mass Index (BMI) more than 25, while those who were obese had a BMI over 30 (weight divided by height squared in metric – kg/m2).

What does obesity do to you?

WHO says that childhood obesity is a factor that leads to obesity, premature death, and disability in adulthood.

Adults have consequences for obesity too.  They bring cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, the leading cause of death in 2008.

Obesity also plays a role in bringing diabetes, a chronic disorder that results from the body not producing enough insulin or not utilizing it in the proper manner.

As you age you may have muscle problems, but obesity can bring them on early; one of them is osteoarthritis.  Some cancers are linked to obesity.

Today, when obesity is a preventable epidemic that is taking over the world there are governments that are stepping in.

Just this month the Mexican Senate introduced a tax on high-calorie foods in a country that is ranked number 1 globally in the obese population.  On Nov. 2 CNN reported that the Mexican legislation will charge an 8% tax on “ ‘food that is high in calories such as fried foods … sweets, foods made mainly with cereal, among others’ ” and a tax of one Peso on ever litre of soft drink.

Although not yet implemented, the UK is considering taking the same path; on Oct 31. Bloomberg reported that the UK was considering a 20% tax proposed by its Academy of Medical Royal Colleges which would reduce obesity by 1.3%

The USA is not left behind.  Cities including Montgomery County, New York, and Philadelphia have already banned the use of partially hydrogenated oils in restaurants.  On Nov. 7, 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a News Release saying “partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe” for use in food” and after a 60 comment and data collection period it would take a plan PHOs into additives so they could not be used in processed foods unless authorized.

First Lady Michelle Obama is even taking a part; CTV recently reporting she said “If we were going to take just one step to make ourselves and our families healthier probably the single best thing we could do is to just drink more water“.

The only question now is whether with the action that’s being taken around the world, will obesity’s BMI shrink?


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