Center for Communications, Health and the Environment
Summer 2009 Vol. 4, Issue 1
Developed and Developing Nations Face Obesity Challenge

Obesity and Overnutrition Trump Undernutrition in Newly Affluent Nations

Fatness was once a sign of power, prestige and beauty worldwide.  Consider King Henry VIII, Fat Men’s Clubs and their well-to-do “fat cat” members, 200-pound “American beauty” and stage star Lillian Russell, and even the 13th century Mongol ruler and founder of the Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan. 

Source: Reuters. Permission Requested

To be fat communicated prosperity and success, especially in countries historically prone to food shortages and famine, such as China and India.  But until the past half-century, most Chinese and Indians were slim, either because they were engaged in physically demanding professions, or because they were impoverished and undernourished.

The 21st century, however, is characterized by a global obesity epidemic.  While about 850 million individuals around the globe battle undernutrition and almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes every day, more than 2 billion adults worldwide are overweight or obese, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) data.  A growing number of children – at least 20 million – are also confronting obesity, which may place them at risk of a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
See Full Lead Article]


Excessive Weight Gain Taxes Individuals, Nations and the Environment

Obesity exacts a heavy toll worldwide.  And payment is not just in the form of poor personal health and a series of debilitating and potentially fatal health problems, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  Being obese has significant financial implications, from lower and lost income to added personal, public and even environmental costs.
[See Full Spotlight Article]


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