The World May Have Too Much Food
The past 40 years have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of obese adults worldwide, climbing to about 640 million from 105 million in 1975. If the current trend continues, about one-fifth of adults will be obese by 2025.
The rate has more than doubled for women and tripled for men, according to a new analysis published in the Lancet. Under the present trajectory, the chance of meeting a goal set by the World Health Organization to halt the increase over the next decade is, according to the study, “virtually zero.”
Behind the global spike is greater access to cheap food as incomes have risen. “It’s been very easy, as countries get out of poverty, to eat a lot, and to eat a lot of unhealthy calories,” said Majid Ezzati, the study’s senior author and chair of global environmental health at Imperial College London. The price of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are often “noticeably more than highly processed carbohydrates,” he said.
- Health Care