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Posted at 12:02 PM ET, 02/ 4/2011

Why is the whole world getting fatter?

By Greg Linch

At least the United States is not alone in getting fatter -- the entire world is gaining weight, too, according to a massive world weight project published yesterday and reported on by The Post's David Brown.

"Our results show that overweight and obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are no longer Western problems or problems of wealthy nations," said Majid Ezzati, the epidemiologist at Imperial College London who headed the project. "Their presence has shifted towards low- and middle-income countries, making them global problems."

Read the full story: Report on global cardiac risks: World gets fatter, but blood pressure goes down

Follow the increase in BMI for 199 countries during the past 28 years in the interactive graphic below, created by The Post's Wilson Andrews and Todd Lindeman using data from the Global Burden of Metabolic Risk Factors of Chronic Diseases Collaborating Group.

Note: Please upgrade your Flash plug-in to view our enhanced content.

YOUR TAKE: Why are we getting fat?

What is it about our cultures and diets that's expanding our collective waistline? Why do you think we are getting fatter? Use #WhyWeAreFat on Twitter and we'll post some responses right here.

By Greg Linch  | February 4, 2011; 12:02 PM ET
Categories:  Cardiovascular Health, Health News, Obesity  
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Comments

Have to agree with the person who posted that healthy eating out is out of the price range of many, and everyone gets the same serving size at most places, regardless of whether we need that many calories or not. I can think of only a couple of national chain restaurants where the food is reasonably priced and healthy. Even the nicer places often don't include the recommended amount of (freshly cooked) vegetables in their entrees; you have to order them as a side dish, at $4+ more, when the entree already costs $15+. On the advice of my doctor, I put half of my food into a take-out box at the beginning of the meal, but eating the same thing the next day is not always desirable or convenient.

BMI is unfair to short and/or naturally stocky people, by the way. I read an article by a couple of scientists that pointed that out, and then did my own comparison. Someone who is just a few inches taller than I is allowed a significant amount more weight per inch. Not too many short people, regardless of fitness level, are as slenderly-proportioned as tall people, and, whatever their height, women have hips of a minimum width so that they are able to give birth. Using the same calculation for women and men makes no sense. The BMI calculation is more forgiving overall than the old insurance company tables, however. The only time I ever achieved the supposed ideal weight for my height according to that old measure was when I was running 10 miles a day and appeared significantly underweight. The BMI allows me to weigh about 20 pounds more and still remain in the ideal weight range.

Posted by: CMNC | February 4, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Its interesting that they can come up with a means of computing whether one is overweight or obese without taking into consideration body frame. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been obese his entire adult life. And such athletes as Tim Tebow, CC Sabathia, Jared Sullinger, Ladainian Tomlinson are all obese. (But then almost all NFL running backs are obese according to BMI calculations.) Ben Rothlisberger is almost obese...

I'm 6'2" with 53 inch chest and 37 inch waist, yet according to BMI I'm overweight and am closer to obese than normal. You can see my ribs and my hip bones. If my frame were narrower maybe it would apply.

IMHO, take these articles about obesity and folks being overweight with a grain of salt. (oh, sorry, salt is not permitted anymore...) Body proportions and shape and overall health make a big difference.

Posted by: eeterrific | February 4, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

wealth increases over time generally.

automation reduces calories burnt.

simple as that.

some day we will all die the diseases of kings.

Posted by: docwhocuts | February 4, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Why do Americans get fat:

(1) Super-size me: Eating until stuffed

(2) Fried foods, the American Way

(3) Too much TV, PCs, and video games - Get out of the house and make the kids play outside. There is a stark contrast between peoples' habits in the 1960s and now.

(4) Eating candy bars or chips rather than apples for snacks.

Posted by: kgblankinship1 | February 4, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

In South Florida it is the cheap pigs that have them obese.

Posted by: truth1 | February 4, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I disagree that healthy eating is out of range for poorer people (in the U.S at least). If you cook your own food from scratch (boil your own beans etc.) it's so much cheaper and healthier than buying processed or pre-cooked foods. Years ago I had to rely on food stamps for a time to make ends meet and knowing how to cook made a big difference in how my food dollars got spent. EETERRIFIC: do you know something about the protocol used for determination that is not published in this article? I am a scientist and we generally take these types of variables into account as a matter of course. I would be surprised if there aren't more variables than body frame that these researchers had to consider and account for either explicitely or through statistical adjustment.

Posted by: JLGinDC | February 4, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

it appears that there is a trend for poorer nations, for women to have the higher BMI and in the wealthier nations it is the men.. any idea about that

Posted by: detta8881 | February 4, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Food that is good for you is expensive and people want their food fast.

That's why.

Posted by: palmtree2001 | February 4, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Now that we have Food Czar Michelle telling us what to eat and where to buy it, it will all be fine. How did the human race ever survive this long without the Obamas telling us how to live?

Posted by: pgr88 | February 4, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse


The first new rule says you HAVE to have insurance. Both my husband and I have pre-existing conditions, and although the new bill says we can't be denied coverage because of it. So far, the cheapest health insurance we've been able to find is called "Wise Health Insurance" search for it online if you are pre-existing conditions.

Posted by: lonnieesykes4 | February 5, 2011 2:03 AM | Report abuse


Very true that major brands do give out samples on their products, search online for "123 Get Samples" we just got ours today. You wont need CC.

Posted by: robindiaz5 | February 5, 2011 2:39 AM | Report abuse

The underlying cause of increasing obesity is that the world's food supply has been grossly altered in large part by: 1) factory farming, 2) genetically-engineered crops (thanks to Monsanto's global monopoly on crop seed), 3) cloned meat, farmed frankenfish and other laboratory-developed "food", 4) overuse use of pharmaceuticals and chemicals in food production (and a sharp rise in pharmacological "interventions" to treat disease caused by an altered food supply), and 5) environmental toxins from 1 and 4.

Most people in industrialized nations have little choice but to eat "faux" food manufactured from genetically-modified corn byproducts that doesn't supply any nutritional value because it is the only option they can afford. When continually assaulted with this kind of junk, how else is the human body to respond? Because this "food" is so cheap, undeveloped nations also have been economically pressured into consuming it, thereby contributing to the problem spreading globally.

Posted by: SoylentGreenIsPeople | February 6, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The underlying cause of increasing obesity is that the world's food supply has been grossly altered in large part by: 1) factory farming, 2) genetically-engineered crops (thanks to Monsanto's global monopoly on crop seed), 3) cloned meat, farmed frankenfish and other laboratory-developed "food", 4) overuse use of pharmaceuticals and chemicals in food production (and a sharp rise in pharmacological "interventions" to treat disease caused by an altered food supply), and 5) environmental toxins from 1 and 4.

Most people in industrialized nations have little choice but to eat "faux" food manufactured from genetically-modified corn byproducts that doesn't supply any nutritional value because it is the only option they can afford. When continually assaulted with this kind of junk, how else is the human body to respond? Because this "food" is so cheap, undeveloped nations also have been economically pressured into consuming it, thereby contributing to the problem spreading globally.

Posted by: SoylentGreenIsPeople | February 6, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

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