A new report from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Toronto has found a disturbing trend regarding the health of people in the developing world. As incomes and quality of life go up, populations are becoming more obese. But the poor, undernourished people remain poor and undernourished.
“One might think that as a country grows economically, the majority of the underweight population would move into the average BMI range, but our study shows the opposite: People of average weight are disappearing,” says Fahad Razak, the study’s lead author and a U of T clinical fellow working in the internal medicine unit at St. Michael’s Hospital.
“This growing trend of body weight extremes is going to pose a major challenge for health care and policy leaders,” says Razak. “They will need to balance their priorities between addressing health issues afflicting the underweight who happen to be poor, and health issues afflicting the obese and overweight–the upper middle-class and rich.”
Here in America, we have an ever-growing list of reasons why our obesity levels are expanding, including diet soda, driving, your mom, your job, and your fork, CO2, or genetically modified foods. And joining in that calorie explosion is part of the “developing” that the developing world is doing–just not the people who actually need the calories.