Obesity is on the rise globally, and is not just limited to North America and Australia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than one billion overweight adults in the world, and at least 300 million of them are considered obese. The countries with the highest obesity rates include the United States, Nauru, Tonga, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Seychelles, United Kingdom and Australia.
The increase in obesity globally is not only limited to adults, but is also being observed in children. It is estimated that 22 million children under five are overweight worldwide and this number is increasing rapidly, particularly in children living in cities.
There are a number of reasons why obesity is increasing globally, and the majority can be related to changes in society and worldwide nutrition. Economic growth, modernization, urbanization and globalization of food markets may indicate increasing wealth of a country, but they are also common among all populations with a high percentage of their population either overweight or obese. This is because as wealth and income rises and populations become more urban, diets start to contain higher proportions of fats, sugars and carbohydrates. At the same time, the population moves towards a trend of less physical activity, which only magnifies the problem and further increases the number of overweight and obese people.
Obesity is now considered a global epidemic. With so many serious diet-related chronic diseases associated with being overweight and obese, such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, strokes, heart attacks and infirtility, this global obesity epidemic threatens to reduce the overall quality of life of people everywhere. Governments and health organizations have yet to really begin to address the growing rate of obesity, but this issue can not be ignored for too much longer. As the incidence of diet-related chronic diseases and deaths continue to build, many countries will be forced to address the obesity issue, or run the risk of having their budgets for health care exhausted.