Obesity has risen to the top of the public health policy agenda worldwide. Before 1980, rates were generally well below 10%. They have since doubled or tripled in many countries, and in almost half of the countries, 50% or more of the population is overweight. A key risk factor for numerous chronic diseases, obesity is a major public health concern. A report, released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), says that “soaring obesity rates make the US one of the fattest country in the developed world.” More alarmingly, the problem of obesity in the U.S. is not limited to adults: America also has the highest rate of child obesity among developed nations.
However, the fattest country in the world is Mexico with 69.5% of all the adult population obese followed by the U.S. Other Spanish speaking nations were listed in the top 15 including Chile #9 with almost 60% of its adult population obese and Spain at #13 with 54.8%.
There is a popular perception that explanations for the obesity epidemic are simple and solutions within reach. But the data reveal a more complicated picture, one in which even finding objective evidence on the phenomenon is difficult. Policy makers, health professionals and academics all face challenges in understanding the epidemic and devising effective counter strategies.