When we think of obesity, we seem to think of the United States as leading the pack. Unfortunately, we are, but we’re in good company. According to a study from Imperial College London, Harvard and the World Health Organization, one half billion people in the world are obese, making that almost one in nine persons.
Obesity means that a person has a BMI (body mass index – this compares height and weight proportions) over 30. An overweight person has a BMI of 25 to 30 while a healthy BMI is from 20-25). Obese people are seen mostly in the United States, Europe and New Zealand/Australia. But Pacific Islanders fared the worst, with the highest BMIs at 34 and 35 and nations in the Middle East are also seeing a noticeable gain in the weight of its residents.
In Europe, overweight men were seen most frequently in Ireland and the Czech Republic, for women it was Russia and Moldova. Unsurprisingly, Swiss, French and Italian women were the slimmest in Europe. Cholesterol levels in women however, are high in Germany, Iceland and other European nations, with African nations having the lowest.
Interestingly, levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure are decreasing in countries like the U.S. while these numbers are gaining in East and West Africa – in part due to medications and awareness; experts said that making healthy choices is also a factor.
Italy is the only country in Europe where the average BMI of a woman is decreasing.
Doctors stated that obesity levels have now doubled since 1980 and warned that without continued awareness and an assertive effort to control eating and lifestyle habits, the one in nine statistic will get worse.
Do you travel? Do you see people around the world becoming more obese? What do think can be done about this?