A couple of weeks ago, the OECD (Organisaton for Economic Co-operation and Development) released a working paper entitled:
In that paper, the OECD has brought together the most accurate data on the current state of obesity in its member countries.
For those of you interested in health, obesity and staring at pages and pages of graphs and charts, prepare to enjoy.
And for those of us who aren’t so graph-inclined, I have taken it upon myself to crunch the numbers for you.
And what I found most interesting was that there was an obvious difference in the obesity trends between one group of countries and a second group of countries.
Group #1 consists of Australia, Canada, England and the United States.
I grouped these four countries together because they represent phase 1 of the globalization of the Western Diet.
The people of these countries were the first to:
As a result of their early adoption of this lifestyle, their current and future levels of obesity are much different than the other countries surveyed by the OECD.
If you look at the graphs below, you will see that:
A closer look at the statistics from these countries shows that the “numbers of individuals in the lower sections of the overweight range have been decreasing sharply in these countries, while numbers of individuals in the upper section of the overweight range have been increasing.”
These changes are projected to broadly offset each other, leading to stable or slightly decreasing overweight rates.
So, what do all of these numbers mean?
It means that in these countries, the chubby population is disappearing. Overweight people are either getting fit and dropping back down into the healthy weight category, or graduating to full fledged obesity or even morbid obesity.
Maybe the animators at Pixar had it right?
Unlike Group #1, the obesity rates for Group #2 countries are projected to grow at a relatively slow pace.
However, their overweight rates are expected to increase at a much faster pace…especially South Korea.
Why the difference?
Even though there is not enough data to conclusively prove it, the general assumption is that Group #2 countries are simply at an earlier stage in the progression of obesity caused by the Western Diet/Lifestyle.
They are simply becoming overweight as a precursor to their evolution into full blown obesity.
1: OECD, France