For the past decade or so, the United States was typified as a country of excess and indulgence. This sort of characterization appealed to many until it started to show along our waistline. For years America has been the esteemed capitol of obesity in the world, with obesity rates above 30 percent and often much higher in low-income and at-risk communities.
Our collective weight problem had reached epidemic proportions, with complications from such weight gain including everything from diabetes to heart disease. America needed to seriously reevaluate its nutritional approach and seriously slim down.
Well the good news is that America is no longer the largest country with the largest obesity problem; according to a UN report, Mexico now takes that honor. To be clear, this is not because America has slimmed down. No, it is because Mexico’s rate of obesity (32.8 percent) has gained on ours (31.8 percent) if only by a percentage point.
While this holds little meaning for Americans, it foretells very bad things for Mexico and its expanding population. Some blame rising incomes and rampant consumption as the main contributors to the high number of overweight people in Mexico; however those living below the poverty line are also getting progressively fatter due to the proliferation of energy-intense foods that are high in sugar and/or fat.
What is also interesting about the report is that while Mexico is saddled with the largest obesity rate for a highly populated country, there exist several, relatively, tiny nations that have obesity rates that are staggering. This includes several Pacific Island nations and territories like Nauru (71.1 percent), the Cook Islands (64.1 percent) and the Marshall Islands (46.5 percent). It is not entirely clear why obesity rates are so remarkably high in these places (some say it is a combination of genetics and diet) but the population density in such countries is just a fraction of what it is in the U.S. and Mexico.
What is your feeling about Mexico surpassing the U.S. with this achievement? How can we collectively reverse course on this disturbing and alarming trend?