Statistics Show Obesity is on the Rise - 1 in 10 People Worldwide Affected
Obesity is now acknowledged as a fully rampant disease across the world. According to a new study, it is now estimated that about 10%, or about 1 in 10, people around the globe fall into the category of obesity. The study used standard BMI measures for obesity and over-weight (BMI equal to or higher than 25 is over-weight, while a BMI equal to or higher than 30 is obese) and analyzed data from 195 countries for over 25 years.
What they’ve found is that the obesity rates have effectively doubled since the 1980s in over 70 countries included in the study, including the US. The other, more worrying statistic, is that there has been a significant increase in child obesity, as well. The United States, for example, have the highest child obesity rate out of all the other countries, standing at 12% of the children living there.
The terrifying thing about this new study is that it shows that obese people are no longer the wealthy, as was the case before, but, rather unexpectedly, the poor. With the rise in prices of “organic” foods and the decrease in price and quality of various fast and unhealthy foods, people with less money opt for whatever they can afford, which usually leads them to purchasing unhealthy, high-energy food, which increases obesity in these communities.
To understand the problem, let us see what causes obesity.
As we have seen, there is no single cause of obesity and no single factor that will determine whether someone will be obese in the future or not. As we know, even from personal experience, there are some people who can eat all they want and never become even overweight, while others take a single bite and end up with excess fat. However, there are some general causes which are a part of this problem and those are:
- Eating more than the body needs
- Not doing any exercise
- Genetic problems
- Eating unhealthy food
- Smoking, or, rather, quitting smoking
- Eating to feel better or to satisfy urges
- Lack of sleep
- Some medications
- Some medical conditions
How obesity fuels death
Obesity itself is either the primary cause or among the primary causes of numerous diseases and medical conditions and is, generally, very detrimental to one’s overall health. It is the number one cause of various cardiovascular problems, such as a stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure, all of which are a step before death. It also causes type 2 diabetes and multiple types of cancer, such as breast cancer, colon cancer, endometrial cancer and gallbladder cancer. Having any of these diminishes the chances of one’s survival significantly. Only in 2015, obesity or obesity-related diseases have been the cause of 4 million deaths world-wide, which is an alarming number. To put that into perspective, firearms have killed less than a million people around the world that same year.
What can be done to stop obesity?
There have been numerous attempts from researchers to both inform the public about the growing problem of obesity and to propose institutional solutions to these problems. Efforts such as restricting advertising of unhealthy foods (especially to children), using taxation on unhealthy foods and subsidies for healthy foods, improving meals at schools, and creating incentives for production of healthier foods have long been proposed by the scientists, but they have only been heeded in certain countries and not to the full extent.
There are other ways to combat obesity, but most of them are on the personal level. One of those ways is accessing the benefits of medical tourism, which is available for helping with obesity.
How can medical tourism help with obesity?
The biggest problem with fighting obesity in most countries is that the surgical procedures which help reduce obesity (like bariatric surgery) are usually not covered by health insurance. In cases where they are, there are long waiting lists which cause most patients to lose interest and never do the surgery. This is where medical tourism steps in. With countries like India, Turkey and Mexico investing heavily in their medical infrastructure and the expertise, it is difficult to tell the difference between the quality of medical service there and in developed countries like the US and Canada. The upside of going to these countries is that the procedures, like bariatric surgery, are much cheaper than in the developed world, so, even without health insurance, they are still cheaper than home. Clinics in Mexico, Turkey, India, Thailand or South Korea offer special plans for people coming from abroad to do bariatric surgeries.
The benefits of having obesity-fighting medical procedures done away from home, aside from the low costs, are that there are usually no waiting lists, the plans are flexible and personalized, and traveling can provide a much needed change of environment, which, more often than not, boosts the mental aspects of a person losing weight through a change of perspective. Also, many surgeons who do these procedures abroad have been trained in the developed countries, working with most up-to-date equipment, so there is no lack of professionalism and expertise.
Obesity has to be fought on two fronts – both on the global scale, through institutionalized actions, and on a personal level, by working hard to reduce the weight. Whatever the solution, it needs to be found.
For more information about fighing obesity and how you can do that abroad, please contact us!