I recently read in the WSJ that nearly one-third of the world is “overweight” or “obese.” However you define it, these people are arguably bigger size-wise than they should be, at least by AMA standards. And people are getting bigger faster, especially kids. Why? Well, folks just seem to be eating more. They’re eating more food that has less to it. Junk food. And the U.S. is the fattest and baddest of them all, by far. No real surprises here.
What I do find interesting, however, is that the four countries behind the U.S. in obesity are BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India and China, respectively. Countries with very young populations. So, it seems that expansion leads to “expansion.” Not GDP wealth or overall wealth mind you, since Switzerland and Saudi Arabia are nowhere on the list. Instead, it’s heavy consumption countries that also consume food-wise at an individual level. As China hyper-pollutes and Brazil burns the Rain Forest, their populations appear to eat in a similar fashion, gobbling up everything in their path. People are behaviorally replicating the macro-environment of their mother country.
As a U.S. citizen, if this theory holds true, it gives me pause. For while we do a fairly good job of keeping our U.S. cities and countryside tidy and neat, we now readily export large-scale conflicts beyond our borders. Perhaps this is requireed to fuel our obese body morphs. Regarding the BRICs, compared to many other nations, the U.S. has relatively little influence over them geopolitically. They are fairly autonomous nation states and choose to apply their own quasi-Industrial Revolutions to fuel growth (Russia, at the moment is miserably failing, but remains rich in natural resources to plunder). Beyond pollution, one of the most visible results is a population literally ballooning in each respective country.
It appears that it is pace that may lead to this obesity epidemic. The faster you consume, the bigger you get. Lesson? Slow down when you eat.