The whole world is fat, and getting fatter



The USA is the world's leader in obesity: we are home to 87 million of the world's 671 million obese people, according to a new report. But obesity is a growing global problem, and the proportion is worse in certain other countries.

USA Today breaks down a study which was published today in the medical journal Lancet, and was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

You can access the full study here, if you're a paying subscriber.

The short version: obesity rates are rising among men, women and children, in rich countries and in poor countries around the world.

From the study abstract:

Because of the established health risks and substantial increases in prevalence, obesity has become a major global health challenge. Not only is obesity increasing, but no national success stories have been reported in the past 33 years. Urgent global action and leadership is needed to help countries to more effectively intervene.

Notable Replies

  1. thams cad mnyam rdzogs sgyu ma’i rang bzhin la//

    bzang ngan blang dor med pas dgod re bro//

    Since everything is but an illusion,

    Perfect in being what it is,

    Having nothing to do with good or bad,

    Acceptance or rejection,

    One might as well burst out laughing!

    • Excerpt from The Great Perfection’s Self-Liberation in the Nature of Mind, by Longchenpa
  2. We're #1!
    We're #1!
    We're #1!

  3. There's one study reporting that many animal populations are also becoming more obese. So instead of hi-fructose or the Internet, the epidemic may be caused by something more ubiquitous, such as endocrine disruptors or CO2.

    Klimentidis et al, Royal Society, 2010

  4. This is one of those things where a quick reply doesn't really do it justice. If you want to dig, check out the fatstronauts 101 posts on shakesville, or read about fat acceptance and health at every size stuff.

    But in particular, if the image is an anonymous fat belly used as the media grabber this conveys a few things to the viewer.

    • Fat people's bodies are a problem to be solved
    • Fat people themselves aren't worth showing, just the fat parts

    Just like any other human deserves to have sovereignty over their bodies (c.f., body modification, abortion, clothing choices), fat people's bodies belong to those people. It's not worthwhile to position oneself as an outside auditor / controller / whatever.

    I think if you refer to fat people as "victims" of the modern agricultural industry, you're eliminating a lot of agency there. Fat people aren't all the same - the reasons why fat people are fat are many. Calling them victims (or lazy, poorly-educated, unable to control impulses or) whatever ends up silencing and eliminating the fat person from the fat discussion. It turns a fat person into someone who has a body that represents a problem to be solved.

    This is not a neutral position, and like many of the crusades of the past (actual crusades and the 'I'm white so I'm going to save Africa from Kony' thing that flew through mainstream culture a few years ago) is based on (a) simplified understanding of the real situation and (b) belief that we know better so you should cede your agency to us so we can fix you.

    Gah, and here I go on for paragraphs, probably not all that coherently either. Not the easiest thing to distill into simple terms.

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