Maps of World
We do magic to Maps

Is The World Getting Super-sized? - Facts & Infographic

Understanding Obesity

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health”. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems”.

 

Obesity is determined by calculating the Body Mass Index of a person. The WHO calls the BMI weight-for-height index used to classify overweight and obesity. BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of his/her height in meters. Now, if the BMI of an individual is less than 18, the person is classified as underweight. If the BMI is between 18 and 24, the person is at his/her ideal weight. With a BMI of 25 and more, the person is overweight and when the BMI is over 30 the person is suffering from obesity. It is, however, important to remember that the BMI does not calculate fat and in some people such as athletes the BMI is not an effective tool to determine obesity. In such cases the waist-to hip circumference ratio, the skinfold thickness, and waist circumference etc are to be considered as better indicators of obesity.

 

Obesity is the primary contributing factor in ailments such as ischemic heart diseases, diabetes mellitus, stroke, and some cancers – the leading causes for death the world over.

 

Fat Facts: In February 2012, Keith Martin from London was revealed to be the World’s Fattest Man. Weighing over 822 lbs, Martin is now 42 years old and his waistline measures over 6 feet. It has been over ten years since Mr. Martin has been able to leave his home and he is now visited by 7 caregivers each day to help him wash and change. Mr. Martin admits to having eaten up to 20,000 calories a day but is now trying to reduce his weight by half before healthcare professionals can give him a gastric band. Keith Martin costs the British taxpayers about 50,000 GBP ($81,085 approximately) each year by way of disability, housing, and unemployment benefits.

 

Causes for Obesity

A number of factors contribute to the epidemic of obesity in various societies. Some of these may be biological or genetic, however, social, cultural, environmental, and economic factors can certainly not be ignored. Individual food habits are influenced by both availability and advertising. Various studies have been conducted the world over to study the factors contributing to obesity.

 

Excess intake of calories could be a result of the prevalent food culture in society – the consumption of larger portions, high-calorie foods, sugar-sweetened confectioneries and beverages, snacks and unhealthy food, and value-sizing of unhealthy foods. The absence of physical activity to offset calorific intake is a major factor contributing towards the growth of obesity. Labor-saving devices at home and work and a strong automobile-oriented culture has limited physical labor. Limited opportunities for sports, exercise, and walking at work places and educational institutions are also reasons for growing obesity.

 

Fat Fact: The Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas was awarded the Guinness World Record for “Highest Calorie Hamburger” for its Quadruple Bypass Burger. The burger contains 9,983 calories, over 5 times the daily caloric requirement for most normal people. One of the most popular high-calorie burger in the US is the Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger, a popular item at the Wisconsin State Fair. The burger is now being sold in a number of other states as well and gives you 555 calories and 38 grams of fat not counting the coke or fries.

 

The Obesity Epidemic

 

About 50 years ago, there were no recorded statistics for obesity. Obesity is essentially a modern problem. With more and more societies turning away from traditional food habits and what was ‘normal’ meals, with a dramatic increase in fast food, foods rich in butter and fats, meat, and soda, with a decrease in physical activity and labor, obesity has literally taken on mammoth proportions.

 

According to WHO’s World Health Statistics Report 2012, there are half a billion obese people the world over and another 750 million are overweight. Between 1998 and 2008, obesity rates have doubled in every region of the world.

 

Among the WHO regions, the Americas rank highest in terms of obesity levels (26% adults) while South-East Asia ranks lowest (3% adults). The 2012 findings of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine are as follows –

 

Top 10 Fattest Countries of the World

Top 10 Thinnest Countries of the World

Country

Average Adult Weight (in lb)

Country

Average Adult Weight (in lb)

Micronesia

192.68

Bangladesh

109.33

Tonga

192.56

Sri Lanka

111.16

United States

180.62

Nepal

111.28

Samoa

173.16

Vietnam

111.83

Kuwait

171.5

Bhutan

112.75

Australia

170.54

Timor-Leste

114.53

Malta

169.66

Eritrea

114.73

Qatar

169.46

Indonesia

115.67

Croatia

168.46

North Korea

115.94

United Kingdom

167.1

India

116.72

 

The average body weight of adults across the world was found to be 137 lbs (62 kgs). Russia ranked 31st, Canada 52nd, Brazil 99th, South Africa 105th, and China ranked 126th among the 177 countries that were studied. This study was launched at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, the largest UN conference attended by 194 nations. Obesity has now been declared a global epidemic and people are said to be ‘suffering from obesity

 

Fat Facts: In March 2012, the results of a review of the Metropolitan Police in London suggested that over 52% of male officers were overweight, 22% were obese, and about 1% were morbidly obese. Among the women officers, 32% were overweight, 16% were declared obese and 2% morbidly obese. Following the review recommendations, the department announced that the unfit officers would be immediately put on a diet and exercise schedule failing which they could face pay cuts and even dismissal. The report did not, however, mention doughnuts.

 

Obesity in the US

 

According to data from the CDC, over 35.7% of the population of the US can be classified as Obese. Over a third of Americans apart from those classified obese are also overweight. Obesity is a contributing factor in each one of the top 5 leading causes for death in the country - medical conditions including heart diseases, diabetes mellitus, stroke, kidney diseases, and certain types of cancer. In 2008, the costs of treatment for obesity-related diseases were estimated to be about $147 billion. This figure is likely to go up to $300 billion by 2018. Obesity-related productivity loss and absenteeism costs the country $6.4 billion a year. According to a 2008 study, more than a third of children and adolescents in the US were obese making them prone to diabetes mellitus and other diseases. Experts believe that this could be the first generation of American children with a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

 

State-wise data of self-reported obesity in the US 2011 (Data Source – CDC)

 

State

Percentage

State

Percentage

Alabama

32

Missouri

30.3

Alaska

27.4

Montana

24.6

Arizona

24.7

Nebraska

28.4

Arkansas

30.9

Nevada

24.5

California

23.8

New Hampshire

26.2

Colorado

20.7

New Jersey

23.7

Connecticut

24.5

New Mexico

26.3

Delaware

28.8

New York

24.5

District of Columbia

23.7

North Carolina

29.1

Florida

26.6

North Dakota

27.8

Georgia

28

Ohio

29.6

Hawaii

21.8

Oklahoma

31.1

Idaho

27

Oregon

26.7

Illinois

27.1

Pennsylvania

28.6

Indiana

30.8

Rhode Island

25.4

Iowa

29

South Carolina

30.8

Kansas

29.6

South Dakota

28.1

Kentucky

30.4

Tennessee

29.2

Louisiana

33.4

Texas

30.4

Maine

27.8

Utah

24.4

Maryland

28.3

Vermont

25.4

Massachusetts

22.7

Virginia

29.2

Michigan

31.3

Washington

26.5

Minnesota

25.7

West Virginia

32.4

Mississippi

34.9

Wisconsin

27.7

 

 

Wyoming

25

 

With the alarming growth of obesity rates in the country, most of the US states have undertaken anti-obesity campaigns to combat the epidemic particularly among adolescents. Most school districts have moved to ban sodas, junk foods, candy, soda, and other high-calorie low-nutrition foods cafeterias and even from vending machines.

 

In the state of California, laws were passed in 2003 banning machine-dispensed high-calorie snacks and beverages from being sold in elementary schools. In 2009 the state legislators also banned the sale of soda in high schools, making up for the school revenue shortfall by stepping up the funds for school lunch programs.

 

In 2008 New York City passed a ‘labeling bill’ that made it mandatory for restaurants to print the caloric content of all menu items in the same font and format as the price and feature it in a prominent place on the menu. Later, many cities also passed similar laws. The caloric label has helped reduce calorie intake in these cities and has been effective in a fight against obesity, researchers believe.

 

The latest addition to the list of crusaders against childhood obesity in the US, is the First Lady Michelle Obama. The program led by Mrs. Obama is called Let’s Move and is a community initiative to combat obesity. It involves schools, the families, and all members of society in the battle against childhood obesity. Let’s Move has also partnered with a number of food and nutrition programs.

 

Fat Facts: It is now illegal for food service establishments regulated by New York City to sell sugary soda drinks in containers of more than 16 oz. All drinks with over 50% milk and drinks where the consumer adds the sugar are exempt from the ban. The ban was proposed by New York Mayor Bloomberg and passed by the NYC Board of Health. Mayor Bloomberg furthered his NYC Obesity Task Force Plan to Prevent & Control Obesity. The ban has invited much criticism and ridicule from a section of ‘sugary soda drink supporters’ in New Yorkers.

 

Combating Obesity

A healthy combination of diet and exercise, and an active lifestyle are the best tools to combat obesity. Prevention of obesity is by far easier than trying to combat it. Here are five ways to combat obesity –

 

Watch the Diet Excess calorie intake and consumption of foods rich in carbohydrate and fats are the primary causes for obesity. Know your ideal caloric intake and avoid soda and sugar based food. If you do go overboard with a meal do compensate by eating fresh fruits and vegetable in the other meals. A balanced diet works best.

 

Exercise and Remain ActiveAn active life is a simple choice. It is choosing to walk short distances, take the stairs, choosing a hobby that makes exercising fun – dancing, aerobics, cycling are all good options. It is a popular misconception that one needs hours of workout to stay fit. Being regular is more important.

 

Surgical Option - When obesity gets out of hand and starts to become life threatening, surgical options such as a gastric bypass are often seen as effective tools. The decision to undergo such surgeries, however, should always be taken in consultation with a medical practitioner and as a last resort.

 

Consult an Endocrinologist What is my ideal weight? Is my weight making me diabetic? Does my high BMI indicate a high amount of fat? Is gastric bypass a good option for me? An endocrinologist is the best person to answer these questions.

 

Get Regular Health ChecksSelf motivation and regular monitoring of your body mass and obesity levels are imperative. The best tool to fighting obesity is awareness. If you are obese, go in for regular diabetes checks and blood lipid profiling. Read up about ideal diets and switch to smarter living.

 

Fat Facts: Celebrities gaining and losing weight to fit a part is probably the most sought-after gossip in many parts of the world. Some have had very public struggles with their weight. Kirstie Alley, Oprah Winfrey, Tara Reid, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lindsay Lohan have all been through dramatic weight gains and losses reported in punctiliously by the paparazzi

 

Super Size Me

In 2004, Morgan Spurlock, an American filmmaker, directed, produced, and starred in the documentary film Super Size Me. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Film. The film follows a month in Spurlock’s life (February 1, 2003 to March 2, 2003) when he decided to eat only at Mc Donald’s. Spurlock ate all three meals everyday at the fast food restaurant consuming every menu item at least once within the 30-day period. During this period he also walked about 5,000 standardized steps, the average distance walked by Americans each day. The film documents the physiological and psychological changes in the 32 year-old as he followed this high-calorie diet. This was also Spurlock’s exposure of the evils of the fast food industry and the damages it causes.

 

Spurlock gained 24.5 lbs (11.1 kilograms) by consuming this 5,000 kcal diet for 30 days during this experiment. Besides an increase in about 13% of his body mass, Spurlock’s cholesterol levels reached over 230 (high for an adult). Apart from these Spurlock developed fatty accumulations in his liver, experienced sexual dysfunction, lethargy, and frequent depression. It took Spurlock over 14 months to lose this fat and a detox vegan diet supervised by Alexandra, author of the Great American Detox Diet. The film was an eye-opener to many and clearly outlined the hazards of snacking and consuming what has come to be termed ‘Junk food’.

 

Why has obesity grown to become the killer it is in recent years? Why are we unable to combat such an avoidable condition? Is obesity the greatest threat of the next generation?

Is The World Getting Super-sized?

% of Votes Polled

Join the discussion on

What do you think?

Is The World Getting Super-sized? Fat Facts About Obesity from Maps ofWorld
^