Growing Obesity In Developing Countries A Sign Of Historic Global Tipping Point

In this Bloomberg Businessweek opinion piece, Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development and the New America Foundation, examines the global obesity epidemic, writing, “It may seem strange to be worried about too much food when the United Nations suggests that, as the planet’s population continues to expand, about one billion people may still be undernourished,” but “[g]rowing obesity in poorer countries is a sign of a historic global tipping point.” He continues, “After millennia when the biggest food-related threat to humanity was the risk of having too little, the 21st century is one where the fear is having too much.”

“The issue isn’t so much that we can’t grow enough,” he states, adding, “Rather, existing food supplies are so poorly distributed that those hundreds of millions have too little for their own health, while two billion-plus have too much.” He writes that “the global obesity epidemic is a more complex problem than the conditions that felled most poor people in the past,” and notes it “has a whole range of different causes and no simple public health solution.” He concludes, “The problem of global plenty is a real one. But for all of [the world’s] challenges with excess, it is still considerably better than the reverse” (6/4).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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