Why the World is Fat

On June 27, 2009, in obesity, by Karen Grepin

“The world has become fat in just a few decades. The changes in how we eat, drink, and move that have affected billions of people over the last half-century will affect billions more in the coming years. If we don’t do something to stop and reverse these changes, in a few thousand years the only survivors may be those in our species who don’t store fat, who hate sweet foods, and love activity”.

Dire predictions from the new book by Barry Popkin – the imminent nutritionist/economist from the University of North Carolina – entitled “The World is Fat“. Popkin has probably spent more energy – and burned more calories – than anyone over the past few decades studying why the world – even people in developing countries – are getting really, really fat. He chronicles these years of research in his new book.

Popkin’s thesis is that humans were born to eat, it is our biological destiny, and our lifestyles have just made it too easy for us to eat more calories than we need and expend less than we should. So unless large scale population-level policies are adopted, ideally by government, than we are destined to remain fat. He calls for higher taxes on sugar and tighter regulation of the food industry among other initiatives.

I am somewhere in between on this one. I think big population programs have a big role to play, but am not willing to give up on individual behavior change entirely just yet. But I must admit, I am much more convinced after reading his book. I was also somewhat saddened and surprised that countries like Brazil and Mauritania have actually made bigger strides than the US against obesity. Perhaps this is once case where the developing world might take the lead.

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1 Response » to “Why the World is Fat”

  1. salsumetri says:

    This is a serious problem that needs to be looked into. The drive from my house to work has 18 fast food options to choose from. There are only 2 healthy spots I try my best to eat at the most..

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