Sep
04
2006

Pandemic taking over the world

in

The Pandemic: Photo Courtesy of Malingering
The Pandemic: Photo Courtesy of Malingering

No, its not bird flu, but there is a pandemic rapidly spreading through the world and contributing to a variety of diseases.

What is it?

Obesity.

"This insidious, creeping pandemic of obesity is now engulfing the entire world,” Professor Paul Zimmet declared at the opening speech of the International Congress on Obesity. He also said, "it's as big a threat as global warming and bird flu.”

Obesity puts people at a higher risk for getting diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke and some forms of cancer.

How bad is this pandemic?

There are about 6.5 billion people in the world. There are one billion overweight people in the world. So that means that 15 percent of the world population is affected by or will potentially be affected by the diseases related to being overweight. That’s a lot. Of the one billion overweight people, about 300 million are diagnosed as obese. But that is still a significant percentage of the world population (about five percent).

Interestingly enough, there are actually more overweight people in the world than undernourished. At least one billion people are overweight, whereas about 600 million people are undernourished.

Those statistics were for the whole world. But in certain countries, particularly Australia, England and the United States, the number of overweight people is much higher. In Australia, 25 percent of children, 50 percent of adult women, and 67 percent of men are overweight. The exact statistics for the U.S. were not given at the Australian International Congress on Obesity, but they were mentioned to be even higher than Australia’s percentages.

Not only is obesity a health problem, but it is an economic problem. Especially in the countries of Australia, England and the U.S., where billions of dollars are spent each year on treating health problems directly connected to being overweight. In fact, in the U.S., the states with the highest obesity levels also have the highest poverty rates.

How can we stop it?

According to the Trust for America's Health advocacy group, at least $5.6 billion could be saved when it comes to treating heart disease if just one-tenth of Americans began a regular walking program.

It seems like it would be pretty easy to stop this pandemic if we quit being so lazy.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Obesity might be infectious

Pandemic indeed. Obesity has been found to be related to germs in your gut. The New York Times Magazine had an "enlightening", (pun intended), article explaining various "fat Factors" explaining why some people can gain weight even when they exercise and restrict their calorie intake.

One year ago, the idea that microbes might cause obesity gained a foothold when the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana created the nation’s first department of viruses and obesity. It is headed by Nikhil Dhurandhar, a physician who invented the term “infectobesity” to describe the emerging field. Dhurandhar’s particular interest is in the relationship between obesity and a common virus, the adenovirus.

posted on Tue, 09/05/2006 - 9:17am
Megan's picture
Megan says:

Wow, microbes in the gut might play a role in obesity? That seems so weird. What an interesting study. However, I don't think this can be the explanation for every one who is obese. Poor diet and lack of exercise are major contributors to the majority of cases of obesity.

It is definitely true that these are not the only factors that contribute to obesity. Other factors such as lack of sleep, decrease in smoking, medicines with a weight gain side effect and even too much air conditioning can play a role.

posted on Tue, 09/05/2006 - 7:07pm
Elisabeth's picture
Elisabeth says:

There was an interesting study produced by The Royal National Institute of the Blind. Researchers announced that obese individuals have twice the risk of losing their sight, exhibit an increased chance of cataract development as well as age-related macular degeneration. AMD (age-related macular degeneration) is the most common cause of eye sight loss.

posted on Wed, 09/06/2006 - 9:36pm
Elisabeth's picture
Elisabeth says:

It is predicted one in five children will become obese by the end of the decade.

posted on Wed, 09/13/2006 - 8:39pm
Candace's picture
Candace says:

True, true! its not that hard to join a gym, or work out for a half hr. at least, every day. i do. and i'm in my teens. c'mon now people...is it to hard to get up from watching tv...and go for a walk out side??? what about a run???

posted on Wed, 03/11/2009 - 11:02pm
celia19O5's picture
celia19O5 says:

I have read an article about it, too. And I know that it is quite dangerous. We should have methods to avoid it right now...

posted on Mon, 06/21/2010 - 9:40pm

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