Obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol plague the world

By With Destination Santé
Posted on Sunday, 11 September 2011 23:10

Obesity levels have almost doubled in the past 30 years, with more than 500 million people affected worldwide, the Lancet Medical Journal recently reported.

The revelations come at a time when high income countries have made considerable inroads in the fight against both high blood pressure and soaring cholesterol levels.

Statistics released showed that a tenth of men across the world were obese, while 14 percent women were affected.

The United States had the highest average Body Mass Index (BMI) in the past 30 years, recording a 3 point average increase, from 25 to 28. Confirming long held stereotypes, the French, according to the report, have the lowest BMI levels.

The World Health Organisation, however, points a grim picture, saying more than half of the population in at least 10 pacific island states was overweight.

Despite the U.S being the most affected country in terms of obesity among high income countries, the pacific islands hold the overall record for obesity with a 90 percent obesity rate in some states.

Poor dietary habits, which are a result of diet change following the introduction of imported processed foods, are to blame for this trend, the medical journal said.

These habits, it is feared, could burden populations in developing countries, most of which are struggling with malnutrition.

In South Africa, for example, one in three men and more than a third of the women were said to be overweight in 2004. At the same time, many people in the southern African nation died from obesity related diseases.

A possible increase in salt intake may be blamed on the massive high blood pressure levels in Eastern European countries, including the Baltic States.

Portugal, Finland and Norway recorded the highest numbers of high blood pressure sufferers, while Western European countries including Iceland and Germany recorded some of Europe’s highest cholesterol levels.

Although the US is afflicted with some of the highest levels of obesity, it recorded some of the lowest incidences of blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

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