Unless you’ve been living on another planet for the past decade or so, you will have noticed the widespread trend of glorifying obesity.
Morbidly obese singer Lizzo tops charts as she pumps out videos specifically designed to showcase her excess weight.
Tess Holliday, lauded as the world’s first size 26 supermodel, regularly wows her social media fans with raunchy pictures of herself in skimpy clothes.
Obese models are showcased on top magazines from Cosmopolitan to Sports Illustrated; and advertisers who once shunned overweight presenters, now scramble to show they’re politically correct by hiring heavy spokespeople.
It goes without saying that ridiculing people for being obese is equally wrong. Millions struggle with weight, and factors they can’t control—such as genetics and stress—sometimes play a part. However, today’s narrative is that being overweight is normal, natural and risk-free.
If anyone does dare to point out the long list of health risks associated with being overweight, he or she is quickly labeled a “hater with a fat phobia.” The media even organizes panels of “health experts” to assure us we can be healthy at any weight.
Unfortunately many people who bought into this narrative have paid for it with their lives.
Being obese is not risk free
A 2021 study found Covid-19 death rates were substantially higher among overweight populations. In fact, the study found that death rates were ten times higher in countries where more than half of the adult population was classified as overweight.
And Covid is just the beginning. The risk of dying from all chronic diseases increases dramatically as a person’s body mass index increases.
A 2016 a collaborative study led by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of Cambridge, found the risk of dying prematurely increased as a person’s weight increased. Morbidly obese individual’s risk of dying prematurely is virtually off the scale.
Heart disease risk
Now new research published by the American Heart Association reports there was a 300% increase in obesity-related heart disease deaths between 1999 and 2020.
According to the research, obesity-related cardiovascular disease deaths tripled from 2.2 per 100,000 population to 6.6 per 100,000 population.
“The number of people with obesity is rising in every country across the world. Our study is the first to demonstrate that this increasing burden of obesity is translating into rising heart disease deaths,” said lead study author and cardiologist Zahra Raisi-Estabragh, M.D., a clinical lecturer at the William Harvey Research Institute in London.
Junk food major factor in obesity rates
A 2021 study by New York University found that consumption of “ultra-processed food” has skyrocketed to the point where it represented 57% of the average person’s caloric intake.
Obesity is not just a U.S. problem; the World Health Organization calls it a “global public health crisis.” But the U.S. is one of the worst offenders. According to the American Heart Association’s 2023 statistics, 42% of the U.S. population is currently considered obese—an increase of almost 10% from the preceding decade.
In addition, according to the Food Research & Action Center, another 31% of American adults are overweight. That means almost three-quarters of American adults already have a major health risk before any other symptoms appear.
In the current study researchers analyzed data collected from 1999 to 2020 on 281,135 deaths. These deaths were ones in which obesity was recorded as a contributing factor in The Multiple Cause of Death database. The database includes mortality and population counts from all U.S. counties.
The research was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in September 2023.
In addition to skyrocketing rates, the researchers also noted disparities among races. According to the findings, Black individuals had the highest number of deaths than other racial and ethnic groups at 6.7 per 100,000 population.
The reasons for the worldwide obesity epidemic are numerous, complicated and heavily debated; however, there is near-universal agreement that processed food consumption is a major factor.
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