oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - "Getting a handle on obesity" : short communication



A recent editorial on this subject, with the above title, and written by the editor of the Lancet, revealed that "with more than 60% of adults and 13% of children classified as overweight or obese, the USA has become the fattest nation on earth." Yet, that nation is probably the wealthiest and most sophisticated. As to the situation in the UK, it has been stated that "If overweight and obese groups were combined, over two-thirds of men and over half of women were either overweight or obese in 2001." In the USA, it has been stated that "obesity underlies more than 300 000 deaths per year."1 Since this extent of obesity prevails in these highly economically favoured nations, the question arises : what hopes do those in less favoured countries have of being able to control the current world-wide obesity epidemic? In the initial contributions cited, it was stated that "desperate times call for desperate measures, and not just in the USA." In that country, one adverse factor is that "Americans spend about half of their food budget on meals and drinks consumed outside the home, and consume about a third of their daily energy in this manner."


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