The prevalence of obesity is rising to epidemic
proportions worldwide. In some countries, an
astonishing half of the population is overweight.
Being overweight or obese seriously increases an
individual’s risk of developing other health
problems such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart
disease, and some forms of cancer.
In both men and
women, the more overweight an individual is, the
greater the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The
means by which excessive body fat causes type 2
diabetes is not clearly defined, but it appears that
excess fat increases insulin resistance, raising
blood glucose levels and the likelihood of
developing diabetes. People with a greater amount
of abdominal fat have a higher risk of developing
Diabetes is the
most preventable consequence of the obesity
epidemic. Figures from the International Obesity
Task Force (IOTF) suggest that up to 1.7 billion of
the world’s population are already at a heightened
risk of weight-related non-communicable diseases
such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In fact, the risk in type 2 diabetes appears to be
mainly related to the increasing prevalence of
overweight and obese individuals worldwide. One in
three Americans born today is predicted to develop
diabetes as a consequence of obesity.
Although obesity can affect anyone, the main risk
factors are high-fat, high-energy dense diets and
physical inactivity. Growing trends in many
countries portray an ‘obesogenic’ society where the
consumption of high-fat, high energy dense food is
preferred to healthy fresh fruit and vegetables, and
where the level of physical activity has
dramatically been reduced or substituted by the
constant usage of motor vehicles.
The importance of eating a low-fat, low-energy dense
diet and participating in physical activity should
be greatly promoted in order to reduce the risks of
becoming overweight or obese. If these habits are
introduced in children, there is a greater chance
that they will continue into adulthood.
Public health programs should stress the importance
of a healthy environment, promoting improved diet
and activity throughout communities. National
programs should be especially aimed at improving
education and awareness of obesity and its
consequences in schools and in youth recreational
prevalence of obesity is rising to epidemic
proportions at an alarming rate in both
developed and developing countries worldwide.
and obesity affect over half the world’s
population and diabetes rates are climbing to
20% of all adults in many Middle Eastern, Asian,
and Latin American countries.
Two thirds of
adult men and women in the US with type 2
diabetes have a BMI of 27 or greater.
estimated that at least half of all diabetes
cases would be eliminated if weight gain in
adults could be prevented.
Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes now
account for more deaths each year worldwide than
epidemics of obesity and diabetes already
represent the biggest public health challenge of
the 21st century.
including diet and moderate physical activity,
can reduce the risk of developing type 2
diabetes by as much as 40-60%.
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