What is driving the global obesity epidemic

Even countries with different food cultures, such as Mexico or Palau, face the same nutrition risks and follow the same obesity trends. We have studied the relationship between globalization and health, examining the impact of trade, technology, cultural exchanges, etc.

global study found that the percentage of overweight adults worldwide increased from 29% to 37% between 1980 and 2013. The gap between developed and developing countries is closing, although the number of fat people in developed nations still exceeds that of developing nations. Kuwait, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Libya, Qatar, Tonga, and Samoa had obesity rates among women that exceeded 50% in 2013.

Overweight people are on the increase. Author provided

WHO states that unhealthy eating habits and increasing inactivity are the primary causes of the rise in body weight worldwide. Sugar, animal products, and fats are important risk factors for non-communicable illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and different types of cancer.

Cardiovascular diseases were the leading cause of death worldwide in 2012. The WHO has classified food-related chronic diseases on par with other public health concerns, such as infectious diseases and undernutrition.

In a widely cited 1993 article, Professor Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina attributes this shift to the “nutrition transition” by which diets became richer in fats (especially from animal products), sugar, and processed foods. In a widely-cited 1993 article by Professor Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina, this shift is attributed to a “nutrition transformation” in which diets have become richer in sugar, fats, and processed foods.

Popkin says that the different stages of the transition are related to economic and social factors, such as the level of industrialization, the participation of women in the workforce, and the availability of food-transforming technology.

The meat factor

Globalization is largely responsible for the rise in obesity and the changes in diets. Globalization has certainly affected people in many ways. But has it led to a change in nutrition?

To answer this question, we analyzed the impact of globalization on changing dietary patterns as well as overweight prevalence by using data from 70 countries with high and middle incomes from 1970 to 2011.

Has globalization affected obesity? Lisa Oberlander, Anne-Celia Disdier, and Fabrice Etile are the authors.

Globalization has caused people to consume more meat. This effect is due to the social aspects of globalization, such as the spread and diffusion of information, ideas, images, people, etc., not the economic or trade aspects.

If Turkey were to catch up with the social globalization that is prevalent in France, then meat consumption would rise by around 20%. Our analysis includes the impact of increasing incomes. Otherwise, our results could be distorted by the relationship between rising incomes and the affordability of meat products.

Increased meat consumption and the animal fats that accompany it could cause people to become overweight. Bill Branson

The study showed that globalization has an impact on diets. However, we were unable to establish a link between the effects of globalisation and increased body weight. This result may be due to the fact that we looked at it from a bird’s eye perspective and did not take into consideration specific country circumstances.

Globalization may not be responsible for the rise in obesity globally, but it could play a part in certain countries.

Processed-food impacts

This result could be interpreted as a sign that other factors may be responsible for the increasing prevalence of obesity around the globe. As an example, the growing consumption of processed food has been associated with rising weight levels.

In the United States, a study showed that Americans get three-quarters of their daily energy from processed food, which contains higher levels of sugar, sodium, and saturated fats than fresh foods.

Haldirams is one of India’s favorite snack chains. It offers a variety of processed food. Shankar S/FlickrCC BY-SA

Retail industry expansion is a factor in the increasing availability of processed food. Modern logistics technologies help retailers centralize their inventory and procurement, allowing them to lower costs.

After the West saturated its markets, supermarkets spread to developing nations, where there were greater growth prospects. In the 1990s, supermarkets exploded in Latin America and central Europe. South Africa also saw a boom. Later, retailers opened stores in Asia. They are now entering African markets.

The role of multinational companies is an interesting but little-explored aspect of the discussion on processed foods. Multinationals dominate the market in many developing countries, such as Brazil, India, Mexico, and Russia. They are also known for their extensive food and beverage marketing.

It is not clear whether the Western diet causes people to gain weight or if they maintain their regional tastes but alter the nutritional composition by adding more sugar, fats, and meat.


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