Western Food in the Third World – The Downside
Over 2 Billion Overweight!
“The rate of death and disease increases as your weight increases.”–Azeem Majeed. senior researcher
Bringing Western food to developing countries has had a major downside – obesity. More than 2 billion people are now overweight worldwide.and it’s damaging their health.
New research reported by the Guardian newspaper in the UK shows that obesity rates have doubled in 73 countries since 1980.
Today about 10 percent of adults worldwide are obese, based on their body-mass-index (BMI). Tis includes 13 percent obese children in the United States, up from about 5 percent 37 years ago.
Investigators agree that poor diet is fueling the obesity epidemic. As people around the world get access to cheap, shelf-stable processed foods that are low in nutrients but high in calories, especially refined sugars, and chemicals, the problem continues to get worse.
Even for those people who are not technically classified as obese, but who are overweight, there are health consequences in terms of advanced rates of diabetes, cancer, hypertension, and other degenerative diseases of middle and advanced age.
As leading researcher Majeed points out, “The rate of death and disease increases as your weight increases.”
One cannot escape the conclusion that the wide diffusion of Western diet patterns, especially fast food, together with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, have been major factors in this sad development. If large regions of the world had continued to follow their traditional dietary cultures of Asian, Mexican, or other traditional diets, they would have been spared the burden of relearning what is good to eat. And what is not.
Perhaps it is not too late, even for those who are already suffering from the effects of the Standard American Diet. That is why we are providing recipes and discussions of Pacific Rim cooking techniques, ingredients and materials in this site. But for the best results, individuals, Non Governmental Organizations,. academic institutions, governmental bodies and others will all have to work together.
Individuals may often feel powerless, but they are actually one of the most important factors in improving health and nutrition patterns. Even a single individual can have a positive influence through lifestyle choices.