Experts Warn of Dangers of Worldwide Obesity Epidemic
Oct. 24, 2005 (St. Louis) -- Obesity is not only an epidemic in this country, it is a global explosion. Researchers say "globesity" is out of control, and the health care community has ideas to help stem the tide of expanding waistlines.
Panel members Jim Hill, PhD, John Foreyt, PhD, and W. Phillip James, MD, DSc, all agreed that the environment needs to change if we are to have an impact on the serious consequences of obesity and turn strategies into solutions. There is no simple solution to this very complex problem; taking small steps to tackle the problem is a great beginning.
Causes and Consequences
The trend of increasing numbers of adults with excess weight continues. According to the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), more than 64% of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese.
The U.S. is not alone. Australia, the U.K., Germany, Croatia, Greece, Finland, and many other countries have a high prevalence of overweight adults, according to the International Obesity Task Force web site.
"The cause of the obesity epidemic around the globe is multifaceted and complex," says James. "Developed countries have spent large sums of money to provide mechanical, electronic, and physical aids to remove the need to do any physical activity so people burn fewer calories each day."
According to James, "this is further compounded by intense marketing and availability of inexpensive food that is high in calories, fat, and sugar."
These conditions are not limited to adults and are being seen in the growing number of overweight and obese children.
Excess weight has been associated with an increased risk of some cancer.