April 1, 2016

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: For the first time in history, more people are obese than underweight.

Behind the global spike is greater access to cheap food as incomes have risen. “It’s been very easy, as countries get out of poverty, to eat a lot, and to eat a lot of unhealthy calories,” said Majid Ezzati, the study’s senior author and chair of global environmental health at Imperial College London. The price of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are often “noticeably more than highly processed carbohydrates,” he said.

A person who has a body-mass index higher than 30, or weighs at least 203 pounds and is 5-foot-9-inches tall, is considered obese. The world population’s average weight has increased by about 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) per decade since 1975, the researchers estimate. Excess weight raises the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.

BMI is a BS measurement — as Glenn has noted before, bodybuilders with practically zero body fat have “unhealthy” BMIs.

But most interesting is the story’s assertion that “The world may have too much food” and the implication that it’s better to be poor and starving than middle class and overweight.

While “fat and happy” might not be an ideal condition, surely it beats the historical alternative.