Organic Consumers Association

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Obesity to Overtake Hunger as the Top Global Health Issue

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Health Issues Page and our Appetite For a Change Page.



In 1950, the number of starving individuals on Earth was estimated to be around 700 million. At the time, obesity affected approximately 100 million people around the globe, primarily in rich countries.

These statistics have changed dramatically over the past six decades. As stated in today's featured documentary, Globesity: Fat's New Frontier, no low- to middle-income country has successfully managed to reduce hunger without shifting over into obesity, and very rapidly at that.

By 2010, the world's hungry had marginally grown to 800 million, while the number of obese citizens of the world had ballooned to 500 million. The rate of "extreme obesity" (people with a BMI above 40) rose by 350 percent over the past few years alone in the US.

Estimates suggest that by 2030, more than one billion people, worldwide, will fall into the obese category. As stated on the Top Documentary Films' site:1

"In India, it's anticipated that 100 million people will have diabetes in the near future and in Mexico, the largest consumer of carbonated beverage in the world, where diabetes is already a headline killer and where the weight problem is so acute, special programs have been made available offering free fitness classes and bariatric surgery.

If you thought obesity was just an issue in the first world economies, like the US, UK, and Australia, this documentary will set you straight."


Carb-rich highly processed foods, along with rarely ever fasting, are primary drivers of these statistics. Wherever a highly processed food diet becomes the norm, obesity inevitably follows.

In the 1950s, the food available was mostly fresh and grown locally. Today, the majority of foods consumed-even in the developing world-are highly processed foods, filled with sugars, harmful processed fats, and chemical additives.        

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