The Mass of Humanity and the Weight of the World: Obesity and the Environment at a Confluence of Causes
- 290 Downloads
In the USA, arguably the epicenter of the global obesity pandemic, obesity prevalence and severity have been rising relentlessly in adults and children alike for decades . Following some early indications about potential prevalence, although not severity, plateaus in select demographic groups at least, the latest trend data suggest continued progression of the epidemic for most groups [2, 3, 4].
Global trends are if anything even more dire , for several reasons. In some countries defended against obesity and its sequelae by traditional dietary and activity patterns, notably in the Middle East, rapid conversion to so-called Western patterns of both has coupled an obesogenic environment and lifestyle to a naïve and unprepared population. The increases in obesity prevalence in such circumstances occur at unprecedented rates.
In addition, cultural transitions in India and China are exposing the world’s greatest concentrations of human beings to just such influences. The global scope...
KeywordsObesity Environment Sustainability Climate Diet Population
Special thanks to Dr. Garry J. Egger for conducting a thorough critical assessment of this commentary.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
David L. Katz declares that he has no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
- 1.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overweight and Obesity: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/index.html; accessed 9/13/16.
- 5.World Health Organization. Obesity and Overweight: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/; accessed 9/13/16.
- 6.Wells JC, Pomeroy E, Walimbe SR, Popkin BM, Yajnik CS. The Elevated Susceptibility to Diabetes in India: An Evolutionary Perspective. Front Public Health. 2016 Jul 7;4:145. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2016.00145. eCollection 2016.
- 7.Nestle M. Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning). Oxford University Press. 2015.Google Scholar
- 11.Katz DL. Obesity be dammed: what it will take to turn the tide. Harvard Health Policy Review. 2006;7:135–51.Google Scholar
- 12.Lieberman D. The story of the human body: evolution, health, and disease. Vintage Press. 2014.Google Scholar
- 14.Moss M. The extraordinary science of addictive junk food. The New York Times Magazine. 2/20/13: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html?_r=0; accessed 9/13/16
- 16.Katz DL. The Obesity Fix. The Huffington Post; 12/3/14: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/the-obesity-fix_b_6261440.html; accessed 9/18/17.
- 17.Katz DL. Of course obesity rates keep rising! Huffington Post. 6/13/16: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/of-course-obesity-rates-k_b_10444426.html; accessed 9/13/16.
- 18.Government Office for Science, United Kingdom. Tackling Obesities: future choices- obesity system atlas. 2007: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/296290/obesity-map-full-hi-res.pdf ; accessed 9/12/16.
- 20.Buettner D. The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. National Geographic Press. 2010.Google Scholar
- 21.Buettner D. The Blue Zones Solution. National Geographic Press. 2015.Google Scholar
- 24.Buchanan L, Keller J, Park H. Your Contribution to the California Drought. The New York Times. May 21, 2015: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/05/21/us/your-contribution-to-the-california-drought.html; accessed 9/13/16.
- 27.Current World Population. Worldometers: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/; accessed 9/12/16.
- 28.Katz DL. Overpopulation: 9 Billion Things to Talk about. Huffington Post. 9/1/10: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/nine-or-12-billion-things_b_693757.html; accessed 9/13/16.