One-Third Of All Humans Are Now Overweight Or Obese

This is big news in the public health field. I couldn’t even access the journal’s site yesterday when it came out, “server too busy.” Here’s the NYTs:

More Than 10 Percent Of World’s Population Is Obese, Study Finds, New York Times, 12 June 2017

Instead of accompanying this post with a photo showing how people look today, I thought I’d go back in time and show how people (some people) used to look. Here’s an iconic photo from the Woodstock, New York music festival, August 1969. Now, 48 years later, 2 out of every 3 of these people would be overweight or obese.

The authors of the study said the obesity problem is not a result of less activity, which I have been writing about for years (e.g. Modern-Day Hunter-Gatherers, Who Lead Physically Hard Lives, Burn Same Number Of Calories As More Sedentary Populations In US And Europe)

The study largely did not go deeply into the causes of obesity, but the authors said the growing accessibility of inexpensive, nutrient-poor packaged foods was probably a major factor and the general slowdown in physical activity was probably not.

“The change in physical activity preceded the global increase in obesity,” said Dr. Ashkan Afshin, assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and lead author of the study.

It’s the food:

What people eat is the key factor in whether they become obese or not,” said Adam Drewnowsk, director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington.

I also think it’s chemicals in food, something I’ve written about over the years. Pesticides, plastics, and other pollutants act as endocrine disruptors in the body, which have been shown to increase risk for obesity, diabetes, and reproductive disorders. By the way, Monsanto’s popular herbicide glyphosate in Roundup, which many countries and localities, even here in the US, ban or restrict, is a potent endocrine disruptor. I think that’s a bigger problem with it than its carcinogenicity because it takes a lot less glyphosate to disrupt metabolism than to promote cancer.

Our body burden of these chemicals is higher today than it was 10, 20, 50 years ago, and it’s increasing: “The Burden Of Industrial Chemicals Will Continue To Grow Unless We Change Our Path”

Here’s a simple visual from the NIH that shows how Americans’ weight has changed over time. What was going on in the latter part of the 20th century that could have caused that blip up, and maintained it?

Here’s the study:

Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries over 25 Years, New England Journal of Medicine, 12 June 2017

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