1 billion people overweight in developing nations

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

obesity infograph
Might want to think twice before getting a piece of dessert after dinner, huh?

Just last year, Mexico stole the title from America as the fattest nation in the world. According to a new report from the Overseas Development Institute, there’s even more contenders throwing their weight around now, since obesity in developing countries is very much on the rise.

The report titled “Future Diets” explained that between the years 1980 and 2008, the rate of overweight individuals in developing nations went up all the way up to 904 million people, which is more than triple what it used to be. Compare this to the 557 million obese citizens in wealthier countries and you can see what a huge problem it’s becoming. So, what factors are to blame for the sharp increase?

One reason is that there’s a lot more sugar and fat consumption. Based on the study, sugar consumption has increased by around 20% across the globe, and many countries take in more than double the 50 grams per day limit. Governments are also partially at fault for the world getting fatter is because they aren’t exactly doing all they can to teach citizens about a healthy diet.

“Politicians need to be less shy about trying to influence what food ends up on our plates,” explained study author Steve Wiggins. “The challenge is to make healthy diets viable whilst reducing the appeal of foods which carry a less certain nutritional value.”

Having more overweight people also means higher rates of chronic (long-lasting) illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke. This will place a heavy burden on public healthcare systems, which spend a lot of resources treating symptoms related to these conditions.

“The growing rates of overweight and obesity in developing countries are alarming,” stressed Wiggins. No kidding! While it’s easy to blame the government or food companies for not doing enough to help folks stay slim and healthy, at the end of the day, you have to take charge of your own nutritional choices.

Featured image courtesy of Malingering on Flickr. Image of obesity graph courtesy of Future Diets.