Monday, April 14, 2014

Global Issues: Obesity Worldwide

As we are nearing our trip to London, I am beginning to get increasingly excited but nervous! As someone who has barely traveled anywhere, ever, it's a little intimidating to me that I am going so far away from home for such an extended period of time.  I do, though, feel privileged to be able to go with fellow classmates on this adventure and I hope we all return with great memories and a desire to see more of the world!

With that being said, it is time to start looking into things that differ from our part of the world to other parts, specifically the United Kingdom.  As a nutrition major, I am obviously very interested in the health of the world  through nutrition and exercise.  This interest got me to looking into the obesity epidemic, and I began to wonder if it is as bad in the UK as it is here in the USA.  Unfortunately, the rates of obesity in the United Kingdom are not far behind where America is standing right now.  According to the University of Birmingham, the UK has the highest rates of obesity in Europe with 20% of their population overweight or obese.  Obesity costs the UK around 3 billion every year!  As if costing the economy a ton of money each year in health costs isn't enough, obesity also decreases the life expectancy of those who are by nearly 10 YEARS.  Obesity also puts people at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery disease.  In the article written by the University of Birmingham I also found that studies suggest obesity could become a leading cause of liver failure and cancer all over the world. 

 In the midst of my search for information regarding obesity in the UK, I found a video showing how severe obesity can really get.  In a article written along with the video, I read something that really disturbed me.  I read that the medical professionals of the UK are using the obesity rates of America to help their obese population wake up and lose weight.  I am going to post the video below for all of you to watch.  It is pretty long, about 15 minutes or so, but I encourage you to watch the first 8 minutes at least just to see how bad it really is.  It pretty much tells the story of two women, one from the UK who is obese, and one from America who is morbidly obese.  The UK woman's doctor sends her to America to meet the morbidly obese woman, basically to scare her into straightening out her life.  I found it so sad that our country is so sick that other countries are using us as an example of what not to do.  The video also states that one third of America was considered "super sized" by February of last year and half of America is estimated to be obese in just a few years.  By 2020, one third of the UK will be considered obese, also.

When I began doing research on the topic for this post, I was really hoping that the UK would not have the ratings of obesity that America does.  Sadly, even though their ratings are slightly lower than ours, they are still on their way to being just as unhealthy as we are.  Even though I will only be in London for two weeks, I feel that knowing the obesity ratings of that part of the world will be beneficial to me in the way that I will maybe be able to give someone I meet over there knowledge regarding nutrition and wellness they need to keep themselves healthy, and possibly others in their life.  Finding this information does not make me any less excited to go, but it is good to know the health status of my home from May 11th- May 25th.  

Obesity in the UK. (n.d.). University of Birmingham. Retrieved April 14, 2014, from 
Skinny Fiber & Weight Loss Support. (n.d.). Obesity Epidemic In America vs UK. Retrieved April 14, 2014, from