Life threatening obesity has become a worldwide epidemic, with 711 million overweight around the globe led by French fry loving Americans.
A detailed report in the latest New England Journal of Medicine is winning alarmed attention in Washington because it finds that American children and adults are leading the obesity parade.
The report states, “The highest level of age-standardized childhood obesity was observed in the United States, 12.7 percent.”
The U.S. was followed by China, Mexico, New Zealand, Hungary, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada; most of the nations rounding out the top 20 were in the West. Japan was the lowest in obesity rates.
What’s worse, this rising rate of obesity comes even after the former Obama administration dedicated no small amount of resources to reversing the trend. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data indicate that “about 38 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 and older are obese as are more than 17 percent of children aged 6 to 11.”
As Americans get older, the obesity rate gets higher.
Here are some additional disappointing statistics:
— About 4 millions deaths, or about 7.1 percent of all deaths, in 2015 — the latest year data is available — were caused by excessive weight.
— Nearly 70 percent of these deaths were due to obesity-related cardiovascular disease.
— The U.S. and China had the highest number of obese adults (China and India had the highest number of obese children).
— The obesity problem is rising in both rich and poor countries, which means “the problem is not simply a function of income or wealth,” the report noted. “Changes in the food environment and food systems are probably major drivers.”
In other words, we’re not eating very well — and it’s killing us.
“Increased availability, accessibility, and affordability of energy-dense foods, along with intense marketing of such foods, could explain excess energy intake and weight gain among different populations,” the report states.
But there’s something missing as well: Physical activity. “The reduced opportunities for physical activity that have followed urbanization and other changes in the built environment have also been considered as potential drivers,” the report states.
So, bad food and poor physical fitness are contributing to our country’s growing obesity epidemic.
This has real-world implications, especially if we wake up one morning and find our country in chaos — either from a natural catastrophe, war, mass political uprising or economic collapse. If stuff hits the fan, the most obese, out-of-shape among us are simply not going to survive the chaos.