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30 percent of world is now fat; diabetes, cancer rates rising

By Maria Cheng

AP Medical Writer

LAST UPDATED: 01:55 p.m. HST, May 28, 2014

LONDON » Almost a third of the world is now fat, and no country has been able to curb obesity rates in the last three decades, according to a new global analysis.

Researchers found more than 2 billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese. The highest rates were in the Middle East and North Africa, where nearly 60 percent of men and 65 percent of women are heavy. The U.S. has about 13 percent of the world's fat population, a greater percentage than any other country. China and India combined have about 15 percent.

"It's pretty grim," said Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, who led the study. He and colleagues reviewed more than 1,700 studies covering 188 countries from 1980 to 2013. "When we realized that not a single country has had a significant decline in obesity, that tells you how hard a challenge this is."

Murray said there was a strong link between income and obesity; as people get richer, their waistlines also tend to start bulging. He said scientists have noticed accompanying spikes in diabetes and that rates of cancers linked to weight, like pancreatic cancer, are also rising.

The new report was paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and published online Thursday in the journal, Lancet.

Last week, the World Health Organization established a high-level commission tasked with ending childhood obesity.

"Our children are getting fatter," Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's director-general, said bluntly during a speech at the agency's annual meeting in Geneva. "Parts of the world are quite literally eating themselves to death." Earlier this year, WHO said that no more than 5 percent of your daily calories should come from sugar.

"Modernization has not been good for health," said Syed Shah, an obesity expert at United Arab Emirates University, who found obesity rates have jumped five times in the last 20 years even in a handful of remote Himalayan villages in Pakistan. His research was presented this week at a conference in Bulgaria. "Years ago, people had to walk for hours if they wanted to make a phone call," he said. "Now everyone has a cellphone."

Shah also said the villagers no longer have to rely on their own farms for food.

"There are roads for (companies) to bring in their processed foods and the people don't have to slaughter their own animals for meat and oil," he said. "No one knew about Coke and Pepsi 20 years ago. Now it's everywhere."

In Britain, the independent health watchdog issued new advice on Wednesday recommending heavy people be sent to free weight-loss classes to drop about 3 percent of their weight, reasoning that losing just a few pounds improves health and is more realistic. About two in three adults in the U.K. are overweight, making it the fattest country in Western Europe.

"This is not something where you can just wake up one morning and say, 'I am going to lose 10 pounds,'" said Mike Kelly, the agency's public health director, in a statement. "It takes resolve and it takes encouragement."

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false wrote:
It is the Fukushima Cancer.
on May 28,2014 | 02:49PM
honopic wrote:
"No one knew about Coke and Pepsi 20 years ago," said Syed Shah, an "obesity expert." Really? Both have been around since the late 19th century, and available world-wide for at least the last 40 years. In fact, a 1985 movie, "The Coca-Cola Kid" is about the last small town in Australia to resist selling Coke products. Coke has 43% of the U.S. soft-drink market, Pepsi 31%. But it's not just these soft drinks that created the obesity epidemic. It's abundant fast food available 24 hours a day, lack of exercise, too much time sitting in front of TV's, computer screens, or other electronic gadgets, and living to eat, rather than eating to live. Meanwhile, weight-loss plans, diet pills and other "quick-fixes" are raking in millions and health-care costs are continuing to skyrocket. Whose fault is it? Think about it when you polish off that last slice of pizza, even though you're full.
on May 28,2014 | 02:50PM
serious wrote:
The sad thing is if a veteran goes to the VA with diabetes he claims "service related" and gets a pension--that's what's wrong with the VA.
on May 28,2014 | 03:57PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Serious, I am a veteran with more than 35 years of active duty. What you say about vets claiming their diabetes or any other disease is service-connected and getting a pension (disability payment) is 100% right. The same goes for Vietnam vets who claim their diseases were caused by exposure to Agent Orange, despite no credible evidence from the medical and scientific communities to link the diseases to Agent Orange. VA does it because it was made to do so by Congress. Since the diseases can’t b e positively linked to one’s active duty, VA classifies them as “presumptive diseases.”
on May 28,2014 | 06:48PM
aomohoa wrote:
Our government is so incompetent when it comes to uncovering fraud with all people who are getting disability, welfare, etc.
on May 28,2014 | 09:06PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
...as people get richer, their waistlines also tend to start bulging. ...

Once again I am the contrarian. I get no money but plenty of bulge.

on May 28,2014 | 03:30PM
hikine wrote:
I hope with the concentrated population of obese people in one place it doesn't tilt the Earth's orbital path!
on May 28,2014 | 03:39PM
false wrote:
Our indigenous population sure contributed.
on May 28,2014 | 06:17PM
hikine wrote:
The Hawaiian's body structure was meant to be starved and that's the reason why they were fit prior to the American culture invasion. With fast foods and readily food availability they have become obese with increased rate of diabetes and it's co-morbidity such as renal failure which in turn led to dialysis treatments. They are supposed to be hunter/gatherers but somehow lost the interest of doing such. As they say, Hawaiians do love their food, even if it kills them!
on May 28,2014 | 08:40PM
aomohoa wrote:
Most people are lazy now a days. Bottom line. Everyone wants a pill to fix their problem. They don't want to exercise and they don't want to cook at home. It is so much easier to pick something up at Zippy's. It's tastes good but it's nothing but junk. You could make a healthy meal at home for the same amount of money. When I was a kid you went out to eat on a special occasion. Maybe once a month. Now people eat out many times every week.
on May 28,2014 | 09:10PM
st1d wrote:
thanks to all the beauty patent contestants that worked so hard to cure world hunger.
on May 28,2014 | 05:17PM
st1d wrote:
that's beauty pageant.
on May 28,2014 | 05:31PM
primowarrior wrote:
We need to bring back the type of school physical fitness programs started by Eisenhower and promoted by Kennedy. Kids today don't seem to get the training we had back then.
on May 28,2014 | 05:31PM
false wrote:
Mandatory military conscription (draft) is what's needed.
on May 28,2014 | 06:23PM
paradiddle wrote:
Modernization, with all its conveniences and benefits, brought along the curse of the lack of need for body motion. Additionally, there is no mention in the the increase in the age and longevity of the modern world. I suspect this also increases the percentage of our overweight population. Excuses aside, the general population is eating and drinking too much processed and unhealthy foods while not using our muscles. Use it or lose it.
on May 28,2014 | 07:07PM
KaneoheSJ wrote:
With the proliferation of restaurants and foodie shows such as those on the Food Network, it is no surprise to me. When bacon is the featured dish in a chef competition or diners being the show of shows, the pendulum has certainly swung in the other direction. At one time our country was into fitness and diet. Now, we are a nation of foodies. Eventually, the pendulum will swing in the other direction as a swell as people get alarmed at how fat our nation has become.
on May 28,2014 | 08:07PM
HD36 wrote:
The key to weight loss is decreasing intake of sugar in all forms : sucrose, galactose, maltose, lactose, fructose, etc.. and eating food which has a low glycemic index. On the other hand you can also lift weights 5 days a week and do cardio and still cheat a bit. If you don't see a label of ingredients on the food at the supermarket, it's better for you.
on May 28,2014 | 09:01PM
headcheese wrote:
Sugar is our most popular drug. Eating sugar infused foods are predictably pleasurable generating a "high" and offering a boost of energy. Stop eating and drinking sugar and your obesity will go away. Get out and move to burn off the stored fat in your body. Your life depends on it.
on May 29,2014 | 05:16AM
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