It is safe to say the all-you-can-eat buffets have to go in the new normal. A WHO study shows that nearly 30% of the world’s population is overweight or obese. In 2013, 2.1 billion people, or over 29% of the world’s population are now overweight or obese. The issue becomes even more stark in developing countries with two out of every three people breaking the scales.

Obesity has been known as the disease of prosperity. The better off the country is economically, the more prevalent of obesity. The University of Washington conducted the study and published it in the journal Lancet. The jump of obese people from 1980 to 2013 has been staggering. In 1980, the figure stood at 857 million.

Researchers took a look at men and women across 183 countries. Not a single country has shown a downtick in obesity levels. As it stands today, 36.9% of all men are obese, while 38% of women are. Director of IHME, Christopher Murray, expressed dismay at the fact the problem is growing larger, “The fact that no country has had a statistically significant reduction in the time period was a surprise.”

Childhood obesity is also on the rise. While obesity is a prosperity disease, the rate of growth in places such as as the Middle East and Africa is alarming. In developing economies, 12,9% of boys were obese and 13.4% of girls were overweight or obese.

Developed countries, such as the United States saw an even bigger jump. 23.8% of boys were in the overweight or obese category. Girls made up 22.6% in the same categories.

“I think of obesity as uniquely concerning because it’s one of the top health risks, and among the top risks it’s the only one going up,” said Dr. Murray

The WHO has an ambitious plan to halt the spread of obesity by 2025, but researchers say that may be too optimistic. More research will have to be done, and a concerted effort by central governments.

With obesity on the rise, other risk factors are becoming near pandemic status. Diabetes is rapidly spreading, and risk factors for heart disease are jumping. If we are what we eat, it is definitely time to skip the extra value meal and take personal responsibility for our actions.

Time is running out on curtailing this silent epidemic. The more it is talked about, the better the world’s population will be able to deal with the burgeoning issue.

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