The Global Obesity and Diabetes 2 Threat

Today more than 2.1 billion people – nearly 30% of the global population – are overweight or obese. That is almost two and a half times the number of people who are undernourished. So obesity is a bigger public-health problem than hunger! <br>
And the problem is likely to worsen. If the current trend continues, almost half of the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030. This will lead to a significant increase of the so called “Metabolic syndrome” among adults and also kids. Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises the risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. The most apparent exponents of this group are: a large waistline (“having an apple shape”), a high triglyceride level, a low HDL or “good” cholesterol level , high blood pressure and a high fasting blood sugar (“early sign of diabetes”).

It is expected that in the future, metabolic syndrome may even overtake smoking as the leading risk factor for heart disease.

According to the latest research of McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) this crisis is not just a pressing health concern; it is also a threat to the global economy. The total economic impact of obesity is about $2 trillion a year or 2.8% of world GDP – roughly equivalent to the economic damage caused by smoking or armed violence, war, and terrorism.
This global epidemic is not limited to advanced countries. As emerging economies like China and India climb out of poverty, their citizens are becoming fatter in just one generation. More than 60% of the world’s obese people live in developing countries, where rapid industrialization, urbanization and Westernization of the diet are boosting incomes and therefore calorie intake.

In India and China, the prevalence of obesity and type-2 diabetes in cities is epic 3-4 times the rate in rural areas.

Mark Twain once said that quitting smoking was the easiest thing in the world- as he had done it several hundred times himself……. Unfortunately, the same applies to changing our diet and taking steps to ensure that we are eating healthy and able to attain and maintain a healthy body weight. Most people reading this can attest to the fact that most attempts at dieting and changing your eating habits result in only short term weight loss and that in time most of the weight lost is regained as you revert to your original eating patterns.

The percentage of dieting failure is at about 95%.

Education concerning the risks of obesity is important, as is taking personal responsibility for one’s health, fitness, and weight. But all the evidence shows that relying on knowledge about obesity and willpower is not enough to offset the evolutionary instinct to overeat. These effects are compounded by lifestyles that require little or no physical activity. That’s the reason why not a single country in the world has managed to turn around its obesity epidemic in all age groups.  People need help, and that means support to change their eating habits like reducing standard portion sizes, altering marketing practices, and also designing cities to make it easier for people to exercise or to be active.
For most countries, tackling obesity will require a national effort. Only a coherent, sustained and concentrated set of initiatives, implemented on a large scale, will be effective in the middle-term. On the other hand individual initiatives of governments, food producers, retailers, restaurants, media organizations, health-care providers, or individuals – cannot address obesity on its own.