Leo Sher, M.D.
On September 23, 2010, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published the report, “Obesity and the Economics of Prevention: Fit not Fat” which comprises 265 pages, 5 tables, and 50 graphs. The report suggests that in the OECD countries one in 2 adults is currently overweight and 1 in 6 is obese. Children have not been spared, with up to 1 in 3 are currently overweight. Rates of obesity are highest in the United States and Mexico and lowest in Japan and Korea, but have been growing everywhere. Thirty-four percent of Americans are considered obese.The OECD member countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Canada, United States, Japan, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Chile, Slovenia, and Israel. Outside the OECD, obesity rates are rising at similarly fast rates in countries such as Brazil, China, India and Russia.
At no time in history have humans eaten such refined, processed and fatty food and at no time in history have humans had such an obesity epidemic. Changes in food supply and eating habits, combined with a significant fall in physical activity, have made obesity a global epidemic. Severely obese people die 8-10 years sooner than those of normal-weight, similar to smokers, and they are more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, nephrolithiasis and depression. Obesity is a critical medical and social problem that needs to be addressed.