By 2030, the incidence of obesity will increase by over 300% (!) in developing countries because of our adoption of the West’s sedentary lifestyle and high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, says an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
If you pause to think about it, you will realize that the population this study is referring to – the 2030 world population – is composed largely of the children of today. That’s our kids, at high risk for obesity.
So what, you may ask, is the big deal about obesity anyway?
Danger Ahead A Harvard University study states that, next to tobacco, obesity is the top cause of death per year in the United States.
In other words, obesity kills. How?
1. Cancer. In men, obesity increases the risk of colon and prostate cancer. In women, it increases the risk of cancer in the uterus, gall bladder, colon, and breast.
2. Diabetes. Obesity is one of the biggest causes of type 2 diabetes. This disease, which used to appear only in adulthood, is now also often seen in children.
A person with uncontrolled diabetes faces a severely impeded lifestyle. If the diabetes remains uncontrolled, it eventually results in a severely shortened life span.
3. Heart disease. Obese people are 10 times more prone to hardening of the arteries. They are also at higher risk for chest pain, heart attack, and stroke. All these can manifest even in early adulthood.
4. Respiratory problems. The extra weight on the chest squeezes the lungs and causes difficulty in breathing – a potentially fatal condition when it occurs during sleep.
5. Psychosocial effects. The fact is, obese people are still discriminated against, which can trigger or intensify depression. In worst case scenarios, this can lead to suicide. Others become targets of bullies, and in some cases, the bullying episodes become very violent. Other effects of obesity include joint problems, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, abnormal menses, and infertility.