Not only are Americans getting too fat to go to the theater and too fat to fight, we have now beat out 32 other countries for the dubious honor of being the fattest people in the democratic, market-driven world.
According to a report just released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States claims the highest percentage of overweight and obese citizens. Roughly translated, that means that two-thirds of us are overweight or obese, with one-third, or 72 million, qualifying as obese.
The OECD’s study concerned the populations of 33 countries “committed to democracy and the market economy.” The resulting report “examines the scale and characteristics of the epidemic, the respective roles and influence of market forces and governments, and the impact of interventions. It outlines an economic approach to the prevention of chronic diseases that provides novel insights relative to a more traditional public health approach.”
To deal with the obesity epidemic, which, according to USA Today, racked up $14.7 billion in weight-related medical bills in 2008, the OECD recommends both individual lifestyle counseling by family doctors and dieticians and increased governmental intervention through health-promotion campaigns, mandatory nutritional labeling, and more stringent regulations over advertising food to children.
If nothing is done, the report projects that we’ll just keep getting fatter, until we look like something out of a Pixar movie. In the meantime, at least we’re in historically friendly company: our obesity rates are nearly matched by Australia, where one in two people is overweight, and England, where two out of three men are overweight.
[Via the Atlantic Food Channel]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 28, 2010