A recent study found that more than 2 billion adults and children globally are overweight or obese and suffer health problems because of that.
There are, however, pockets of the global population who remain somewhat unaware of this public health crisis, despite the growth of waistlines all around them, and this lack of awareness is just one of the underlying problems, according to Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
“Different countries have different issues,” Hu said. “You need to mobilize (their) whole society to tackle the problem. … it’s not just a medical problem.”
The Pacific Islands, Middle East and Americas lead the way in terms of regions with the greatest obesity rates. In 2014, more than 48% of the population of the Cook Islands was classified as obese. Qatar led the way in the Middle East with 34%, followed closely by the United States at 33%, according to the World Health Organization.
When assigning blame, two factors are common: diet and physical activity, namely poor diets and a lack of physical activity. But a number of smaller factors combine to fill these two large umbrellas, and those need to be understood to truly tackle the problem, Hu believes.
What is behind the obesity problem among these countries? Read more
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