While it will hardly come as a surprise that in the age of pervasive, accessible and cheap pink slime fast food, more people than ever are obese, the actual numbers may be a shock to most. Conveniently, quantifying the world’s obesity epidemic is precisely what the London-based Overseas Development Institute has done with a just released report titled Future Diets (pdf link). Its findings are stunning: more than a third of all adults in the world – 1.46 billion to be exact – are obese or overweight.
The main culprit: the development world, where the number of obese has nearly quadrupled from 250 million to 904 million between 1980 and 2008. What this means for the world’s soaring healthcare costs needs little explanation: “On current trends, globally, we will see a huge increase in the number of people suffering certain types of cancer, diabetes, strokes and heart attacks, putting an enormous burden on public healthcare systems.” according to the co-author of the Future Diets report. That’s ok, the already insolvent world, drowning in record debt, obviously can afford to spend even more on a record population of fatties.