Being Big Becoming a Bigger Problem

This week Lancet published a model reviewing changes in average BMI from 1980 to 2008. Unsurprisingly, the model found that people have gotten bigger. Given that the data was from 199 countries, the trend was seen in rich and poor countries alike. Potential causes for this trend are diverse (though western diets deserve a good deal of the blame), as are the consequences. But it merits reiterating the point Seema made in a previous blog post: chronic, non-communicable diseases—particularly those related to cardiovascular disease and diabetes—will play a larger and larger role in developing countries. This is not to say that famine is a thing of the past- for countries like Niger it is an annual reality. But we must be vigilant about the hazards of excess as well as scarcity.

Note: For those unfamiliar with statistical jargon, the “posterior probability” referred to in the article is not a reference to study subjects’ backsides.

Articles about obesity trends always seem to feature a picture of an overweight person from behind. That doesn’t seem very nice, does it?

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One Response to Being Big Becoming a Bigger Problem

  1. Jason Kerwin says:

    Does Niger really have famines every year? Famines are pretty rare (and nonexistent in democratic countries). Niger certainly has a chronic malnutrition problem but literal famine is another question. If you're saying the *threat* of famine is a regular occurrence, though, I can't disagree.

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