We’ve reached a strange—some would say unusual—point. While fighting world hunger continues to be the matter of vital importance according to a recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO), more people now die from being overweight, or say, from being extremely fat, than from being underweight. It’s the good life that’s more likely to kill us these days.
Worse, nearly l8 million children under the age of five around the world are estimated to be overweight. What’s going on?
We really don’t have many excuses for our weight problems. The dangers of the problem have been drilled into us by public-health campaigns since 2001 and the message is getting through—up to a point.
In the 1970s, Finland, for example, had the highest rate of heart disease in the world and being overweight was its main cause. Not any more. A public-health campaign has greatly reduced the number of heart disease deaths by 80 per cent over the past three decades.
Maybe that explains why the percentage of people in Finland taking diet pills doubled between 2001 and 2005, and doctors even offer surgery of removing fat inside and change the shape of the body. That has become a sort of fashion. No wonder it ranks as the world’s most body-conscious country.
We know what we should be doing to lose weight—but actually doing it is another matter. By far the most popular excuse is not taking enough exercise. More than half of us admit we lack willpower.
Others blame good food. They say: it’s just too inviting and it makes them overeat. Still others lay the blame on the Americans, complaining that pounds have piled on thanks to eating too much American-style fast food.
Some also blame their parents—their genes. But unfortunately, the parents are wronged because they’re normal in shape, or rather slim.
It’s a similar story around the world, although people are relatively unlikely to have tried to lose weight. Parents are eager to see their kids shape up. Do as I say—not as I do.