Obesity Affects Wealthy in Poorer Countries, Poor in Wealthy Nations

Obesity rates are higher among lower-income groups in the United States, but in developing nations, wealthier citizens are the ones with excess weight.

Developed nations have seen an upsurge in the rates of obesity over the past 40 years, with poorer populations experiencing the greatest impact. Now, the obesity epidemic has spread to developing countries, as well, but the wealthiest denizens are the ones battling the bulge, research shows. In contrast, the poor are still underweight – despite government efforts to make food more affordable in many nations.

“There’s a lot of discussion on how the problems of obesity and overweight are now spreading to poor and developing countries,” S.V. Subramanian of the Harvard School of Public Health told Reuters Health.

Subramanian led a recent study to examine weight trends in more than half a million women in 54 developing countries between 1994 and 2008. Although the rate of excess weight varied widely between nations, on average about a quarter of women were overweight.

Interestingly, in countries like Egypt and Ethiopia, the number on the scale rose in direct correlation to the level of education and income. In contrast, poorer residents of developing countries still suffered from being underweight and often malnourished.

“On the one hand, you have populations where there is a need to increase calorie intake, and on the other, you have the rich folks who are overconsuming,” Subramanian told Reuters Health.

Researchers suggest that intervention through education and the media could help curb the obesity trend among the more affluent, combined with a comprehensive policy designed to ensure that poorer citizens get sufficient calories and nutrients in their diet.

One Response

  1. Jersey

    the wealthy are the same as us. If we are getting teased on about our obseity then why arebt they? Oh i know because they have more power.