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Wow of the Week: Obesity now tops hunger as the world’s biggest food problem

8:00 am by | 19 Comments

Wow of the Week is a weekly post on share-worthy medical technologies, stories, people or events.

A new analysis of global health data shows that the years of life lost from obesity outnumber those lost by hunger.

Data from the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 was unveiled yesterday and will be published in The Lancet. According to CNN’s analysis of the study, obesity rates have increased 82 percent worldwide over the past two decades. Obesity is now a problem in all countries except for those in sub-Saharan Africa, and its associated complications produce health burdens higher than those caused by hunger.

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The data does, however, point to impressive progress against malnutrition and infectious diseases, especially in children. “Kids who used to die from infectious disease are now doing extremely well with immunization,” Ali Mokdad, co-author of the study and professor of global health the University of Washington, told CNN.

[Photo from Flickr user colros]

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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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19 comments
Tanya
Tanya

The heavier more people become, the more socially acceptable it also becomes...

Alain18
Alain18

Obesity becoming a growing Health Issue for the developed countries, whereas for the poor countries, feeding the masses is a Daily issue.

wholehealth
wholehealth

Cut out ALL processed foods, wheat and sugar and fat falls off the body and obesity related diseases flee. 

Dhughes
Dhughes

Genetics, will power, psychological, habits and education.  One must understand all mentioned before anyone will know the real reason many of our fellow Americans suffer from, what others consider, being overweight.   One thing I know for sure is that the real question needs to be... Why are individuals treated differently simply because they may be a bit bigger than you or anyone else?  That's the real disease in American, in my opinion....  As for myself, I would truly love to learn how to satisfy cravings and feed my body what it truly needs so that I (only speaking for myself) am not stuck to the table with the latest fad that never works.  

dsun1971
dsun1971

 @AlexNYC I am not sure this article was addressing weight loss. I believe, and correct me with a citation if I am wrong, that the article is addressing an ever increasing healthcare issue of obesity and, perhaps, the irony of being less than a generation behind a crisis of hunger and malnutrition. So, if that is the case, you are very correct in your statement that ignorance is much worse. 

dsun1971
dsun1971

As a product of my generation, I remember being asked to contribute money to causes that would fund feeding those children in under-nourished areas. The pictures, I remember, were difficult to look at, especially when they were on your table in a restaurant... the irony? Although this article sheds light on a very real and rapidly growing healthcare issue, it is a little harder to feel sorry and contribute to the chubby kid on the sign asking for a donation. It was real when you were asked to give for the needy, but the psychology behind being charitable to someone who is classified as having too much, is a much more difficult sale. Good luck, this will be harder to see visible gains, or losses, than those to feed the hungry. 

AlexNYC
AlexNYC like.author.displayName 1 Like

Why is it that people who have never had to lose a pound think they have all the answers when it comes to weight loss. Try loosing 50 lbs and see how far you go. Of course, being closed minded, you will assume that you'd never get yourself into that trouble, just goes to show the real issue. Obesity is a horrible thing but ignorance is much worse.

J
J

 @AlexNYC

 Because it really isn't a hard equation to wrap your head around. If your intake is less than your energy expenditure, you will lose weight. The hard part is having the discipline to stick to it. Although this is all mental, and you could argue that getting in the right head space requires less efforft than the physical side of it.  

AlexNYC
AlexNYC

Really? Wow, I think you just solved it. You should market that. Ever hear of Ghrelin? Ever hear of Starvation Syndrome? Fact is, weight loss is not a zero sum game and anyone who ever had to deal with it can tell you that first hand. Fact is I've seen people take in an entire pizza and not gain an once whereas others can each a health sandwich and actually put on weight. Anyone who doesn't understand this just doesn't care enough to read about how the body works, assuming, hey, you aren't fact must be doing something right. Tell that to the millions of people with very high cholesterol and are normal weight.

Renee
Renee

 @AlexNYC  I actually lost 100 lbs over the past few years, and hope to lose about 15 more this winter/spring.  I don't claim to have all the answers...but I do know that doing nothing is the worst thing you can do.  But hey, thanks for assuming everyone who is fit is also close-minded and ignorant.  Perhaps you are the close-minded one?

AlexNYC
AlexNYC

Never made that assumption. Fact is close minded people come in all shapes and sizes. Congrats on your weight loss. I have dropped 180 lbs and still have 40 to go. It's not easy and people who suggest it is haven't a clue.

D_Westy1
D_Westy1

 @AlexNYCAs someone who has lost 35 lbs I can tell you it's hard work. It requires discipline and a lifestyle change. It is very possible. Society is against you for sure. Even the food pyramid endorsed by the government will lead most into obesity. High protein low carb diets produce the most positive changes.

 

JeffPerkowitz
JeffPerkowitz

 @AlexNYC Because people who have never had to lose a pound are smart about what they eat and make exercise a major part of their lifestyle.  You should try it. 

AlexNYC
AlexNYC

 @JeffPerkowitz I have lost 180 lbs so please don't suggest that I don't know what I am talking about. Suggesting that because you never have therefore you are doing something right is absurd. Fact is, anyone who has lost weight will tell you it's hard work, it takes a lot of effort and the reason most fail is because our bodies are designed the way they are. Frankly yes, I think people should take personal responsibility however the fact is until you have had to deal with it, you have no room to talk.

 

bill
bill like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

eat veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts and lean meats as 90% of your diet, walk 2mi daily and that eliminates obesity in most cases. this is the most obvious and simple solution to one of the biggest problems known to man. wtf, this is not hard people.

kiriath
kiriath

Its not hard. Neither is a doctor washing their hands on a regular basis, but as pointed out in studies and in Freakanomics, many doctors fail to do this even though they know the obvious and simple solution.  The solution itself is, or at least can be, simple, but behavior change is hard.  Changing ones behavior is not easy.

Kevin Pereau
Kevin Pereau

What a statement on today's WW problem. The two largest problems deal with A) Not enough and B) Too much! We are seeing a confluence of healthcare need, consumer appetite and technology to address the latter problem I am ready to declare it a myth that people aren't willing to accept responsibility for their own health. Given integrated, holistic tools that really help them, users are stepping forward to better capture and share data about themselves. Our company QUENTIQ makes a Health Score which we view as a universal means of measure and stating your health at any given time.  Your readers would enjoy checking us out. We are available for 60 days free. Use us to set up a baseline score and learn what you can do to better manage your goals or chronic conditions.

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