Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fat is spreading

19.02.2002


Obesity epidemic sweeps into developing world


Obesity spreads: world health declines.
© Getty Images



Obesity is spreading to all corners of the globe, researchers warned the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston. Sedentary lifestyles and fast food are causing previously unaffected populations to fall foul of fat.

"Obesity is no longer confined to Western, industrialized societies," said anthropologist Marquisa LaVelle of the University of Rhode Island, Providence. Guatemalans in the United States, South Pacific islanders and desert-dwelling Australians are all expanding.


"It puts a burden on the developing world they can ill-afford," LaVelle warned. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. "A decline in world health is inevitable," she said.

The scale of the epidemic is challenging the view that laziness or genetics are to blame for obesity. Campaigns to promote exercise and a healthy diet have done little to stem obesity’s spread.

LaVelle wants cities and buildings designed to help people lead healthier lives. Urban areas should incorporate playgrounds and footpaths, she suggests. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta have begun a project to explore these possibilities.

Obesogenics

The South Pacific may have the world’s highest rates of obesity. In Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands, 52% of men were clinically obese in 1996, compared with only 14% in 1966, Stanley Ulijaszek of the University of Oxford, UK, told the meeting. The figures are worse among skilled professionals.

In rural Papua New Guinea, obesity is on the rise thanks to higher incomes and connections to urban centres. "Modernizing influences are penetrating the remotest places on Earth," said Ulijaszek.

The global spread of sedentary jobs and energy-rich foods has triggered the epidemic, the researchers agreed. LaVelle labels the lifestyle "obesogenic".

Some populations with a genetic susceptibility to gaining weight may have been held in check by diet and physical activity until now. But a lifestyle switch can cause dramatic increases in obesity within a generation. "The brakes are taken off," said Barry Bogin of the University of Michigan in Dearborn.

Mayan children living in the United States are taller and heavier than their counterparts in Guatemala, Dearborn and his colleagues have found. Children whose favourite activity is TV or computer games are at a greater risk of being overweight.

HELEN PEARSON | © Nature News Service
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/nsu/020218/020218-2.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

nachricht Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma
17.01.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Morbid Obesity: Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy Are Comparable

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Genetic discovery may help better identify children at risk for type 1 diabetes

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>