If you thought obesity was an American problem you’d be wrong. According to new report published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, obesity has surpassed hunger to become the world’s leading health concern.
The report compiled data from nearly 50 countries from 1990 to 2010. Five hundred researchers examined the data for the Global Burden Disease Report and discovered a startling finding: every country examined, except those located in Sub-Saharan Africa, is facing alarming obesity rates.
Ali Mokdad, co-author of the study and professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, explained: “We discovered that there’s been a huge shift in mortality. Kids who used to die from infectious disease are now doing extremely well with immunization.”
“However, the world is now obese and we’re seeing the impact of that.”
Over the last 20 years, health officials have made progress tamping down many of the world’s deadliest diseases, which has resulted in longer lifespans, but researchers fear the world’s growing obesity rate is a “slow-motion disaster” that will have a tremendous fiscal impact.
While expanding waistlines have been much talked about in America and the UK, places like the Middle East have seen obesity rates jump by 100-percent in the last 20 years.
Researchers blame the spread of the “so-called Western lifestyle” which includes too much processed, unhealthy food and too little exercise.
Global health officials are imploring policymakers to do something to curb the growing obesity rates or face a future that includes older, sicker citizens.