Obesity Rates Rise in English Speaking Countries
A study, done by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health predicted that by 2015, 75% of adults in the United States would be overweight and 41% of all adults will be so heavy that the would be diagnosed as medically obese.
The Johns Hopkins paper was a comprehensive overview of 20 different journal papers, reports, online data sets, and 4 different national surveys. The date ranged from 1960 to 2004.
The important finding was the rate of acceleration of obesity from 13% to 32%. The study also found that people in specific groups such as non-Hispanic black women and children, Mexican-American women and children, low socioeconomic status black men and white women and children, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders-are disproportionately affected. For instance, the study found that among black women aged 40 years or over 80% are overweight, and 50% are obese.
Now a more recent study compared world-wide obesity rates. The research reported a interesting, cultural finding – the countries world-wide with the highest obesity rates are primarily English-speaking. They are (in order) USA, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland. The report was conducted by OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development).
The report has generated interest from not only physcians and nutrtionists, but also sociologists. The obvious question to ask is why. How does the common bond of language become an indicator or factor in predicting obesity. The answer may lie in how the common language is a cultural driver. The United States has the highest obesity rates. Does the US with its common of language with other Anglo-Saxon countries help drive cultural values as well – that the commonlaity of media, music, films also drive consumption of fast-food, TV dinners, sweets and other high calorie laden food.
The odd-man out would be Mexico with its Spanish speaking population. Its dramarically increasing obesity rates might be driven by NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) agreements and other business ties that bind the United States and Mexico together both econmically and culturally.
Among the ten slimmest countries in the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development) are countries such as Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and Austria - a good spread of northern and southern European lifestyles as well as two Asian nations.
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