Part One: New Economies Suffer from American-Style Diets
At first, it seemed a sign of success that the emerging middle class in developing economies around the world had finally found a way to eat whatever they want. The unexpected and paradoxical truth is that people in such countries are making food choices that lead to much higher occurrences of killers like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer.
According to the United Nation's World Health Organization (WHO), successfully developing countries around the world are creating populations that have a new-found ability to eat whatever they want and are compromising themselves because of it. They are adopting new eating habits with consequences that "...range from increased risk of premature death to serious chronic conditions that reduce the overall quality of life."
In other words, they are becoming more like Americans.
In a very short time, we have seen large populations, like India (see link below), compromising themselves by behaving much like we do here in the U.S. They are choosing high calorie, high saturated fat foods and are paying with the same loss of good health. The difference between us and them? We have lived with this problem so long that it seems normal to us. We don't see what a burden the need for weight loss has placed on us. To a developing country that has never had to deal with a giant population of weight related illnesses, the financial and social consequences of an overweight population are very new and clear to them as they try to adjust their budgets and social services to contend with the phenomena. To us, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke are all part of life as it has been for decades and the repercussions from being overweight have been around so long that we seem to have accepted them as part of the regular daily grind. We don't see the damage that these weight triggered diseases are creating.
The perception, however, of how an overweight population effects us as a nation is about to change. The changing numbers will demand attention. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that we are experiencing acceleration toward increasingly larger percentages of our population which have a body mass index considered unhealthy. Check out the numbers: In 1995, 50 states reported that less than 20 percent of their adult population were overweight. Five years later, only 28 states could still report the same numbers. And by 2005, that number had dropped even lower: A lonely four states could report "only" 20 percent of their population as overweight. The rest of the states have seen percentages climb to 25 percent. Essentially the numbers are telling us that we weren't doing very well to begin with and we are getting progressively worse. Also, so far, we have only mentioned changes in the adult population. The percentage of children who are overweight in the U.S. has risen steadily at a rate of 4 to 6 percent per decade (depending on age segments) to the point where we were seeing over 15 percent overall of children under 19 years old who were considered overweight in a 2000 CDC study topping at 19 percent as reported in a recent study from the Institute of Medicine.
Clearly, developing countries have painted a by-the-numbers picture: no exercise, higher fat and calorie rich diets equals higher rates of disease, just like us. What can we learn from their experiences? That's the topic of The Price of Success, Part Two, from Personal Fit Weight Loss Guide.
Here are a few links where you can learn more:
In a recent article in The New York Times, columnist N.R. Kleinfield reports from Chennai, India on how the new middle class of India is demonstrating its wealth by contracting diabetes. This link will take you to the Times search page where you can log in or sign up to go to the title, "Modern Ways Open India's Doors to Diabetes."
This review from the Institute of Medicine was released recently with a more in depth view of overweight children in the U.S. You can find a copy at the Personal Fit Weight Loss Guide web site.
This link to a CDC 2003-2004 study indicates an estimated 66 percent of the U.S. adult population to be overweight.
You will find that you can generate a lot of resolve with a little bit of knowledge. So, dig in and get smart about losing weight. Don't end up on the wrong side of the mortality statistics.
Remember, too, that this article is for information purposes only. If you or a loved one have or think you have a health issue, including weight or diet issues, consult your primary care physician for proper diagnoses and treatment.
Personal Fit Weight Loss Guide dx.doi.org/10.2121/Weight-Loss-Guide-092206