Obesity; where are we in 2022?

March 4th was World Obesity Day, we think it’s important to touch base on the current situation. What’s the situation worldwide and across the country? Unfortunately, the disease is still prevalent in spite of the advances in terms of health and prevention. Here are the facts: 

Obesity is still ongoing. It’s now considered a worldwide public health problem due to the alarming rate of which it’s progressing. According to the World Health Organization, in 2018, 811 million people (1 adult out of 8) suffered from obesity throughout the world, compared to 820 million suffering from malnutrition. And it’s worse in our country. Across Canada, just as in Quebec, 25% of adults are afflicted.

In summary, excess weight is almost as devastating as starvation… Due to the disease’s progression, it’s estimated that the related health system costs will jump to 1,000 billion dollars annually by 2025. It’s something to be worried about!

A closer look at the statistics reveals that the disease is also progressing rapidly among children, particularly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, regions stricken with poverty where overweight is mainly caused by malnutrition, such as the consumption of unhealthy foods. Unfortunately for these children, obesity will often involve delays in their growth.

Ironically, obesity did not always have such a bad rap. It was even regarded as a sign of abundance, success, and health in the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th centuries. Fortunately the technological developments in agriculture allowed for better food distribution.

Just as with certain other health conditions, education plays an important role in the evolution of the disease across the country. According to Canada Statistics, The proportion of adults who were obese decreased as education increased, from 34.5% among households where the highest level of education was less than secondary school graduation to 25.5% where at least one household member had completed post-secondary education.

If we now look at the consequences, obesity is associated with numerous chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer. Hence the importance of taking excess weight very seriously. As you can imagine, obesity is mainly caused by an energy imbalance between calories in versus calories out, but genetic factors can also be taken into account. It’s therefore of the utmost importance to consult a health professional to obtain the appropriate treatment for those affected.