Research results compiled from the work of roughly 500 researchers in 50 countries conclude that obesity and the diseases that arise as a result of the condition are outpacing problems related to starvation on a global scale.

The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, published in Oxford University’s journal of medicine, The Lancet, provides data about worldwide health trends between 1990 and 2010 and says that obesity-related deaths are occurring three times more than fatalities related to malnutrition and starvation.

Men and women in countries of the Middle East have seen a 100 percent increase in the amount of people labeled clinically obese in the past two decades, and in the time period studied, obesity ranked sixth- moving up four spots on the list of conditions that endanger health.

“During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high,” according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fact sheets on the condition. “More than one-third of U.S. adults and approximately 17 percent, or 12.5 million, of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.”

Finding out the total amount of body fat, or the body mass index (BMI) is one way to get instant results on whether one is overweight or obese and gauge risk for diseases related to obesity, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

The BMI can easily be calculated with BMI tables that show average weights against height and girth.

In the case of the NHLBI’s chart, made available online, once a height has been selected in the first column, an individual moves left in the same row until they run into a column with their weight. Going too far left in any given row means an individual is obese, and opening themselves up to a multitude of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

The term “obese” should not be confused with the term “overweight.” 

“Obesity means having too much body fat,” according to the U.S National Library of Medicine. “It is not the same as being overweight, which means weighing too much. A person may be overweight from extra muscle, bone, or water, as well as from having too much fat.”

The report lists high blood pressure and high cholesterol” as global leaders in increasing the risk of developing a disease globally.

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer