A Global “Tug of War”: Increased Longevity Versus Obesity. What to do about it
Alfredo L Fort
*Corresponding Author: Alfredo L Fort, Adjunct Associate Professor, Gillings School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, US, and Independent
Consultant, United States.
February 21, 2022; Published: March 14, 2022
After reviewing the accomplishments of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) on key global health and development aspects, we embark on a demographic and epidemiological comparative analysis of trends on the aging of populations versus the continued rise of obesity and diabetes. We present data spanning 30 to 50 years that unmistakably confirm how progress on medical and living standards in the world have extended life expectancy, including at older ages. However, data also demonstrate how physical inactivity and sedentarism, coupled with inadequate dieting, are eroding such gains, producing the new phenomena of overweight and obesity, which is occurring at all ages and in all regions of the world. Obesity and diabetes are increasingly associated with cancer and cardiovascular disease, risk factors for premature mortality and critical components in the rise of the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD). We end the discussion proposing a few recommendations, from addressing the issues globally as part of health and well-being in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), to countries enacting policies to educate their population on proper dieting and exercise, create gyms and sport centers in urban areas, and legislation for workplaces to allow physical activity among workers, while restricting and taxing sugary and processed drinks and foods. These timely actions should release the current tug-of-war between Longevity and Obesity, and align future modern lifestyle with quality of life in older ages.
Teaser key messageOverweight and obesity due to sedentarism and inappropriate dieting are eroding gains in population longevity and well-being.
Key messagesmanuscript presents global data from demographic and epidemiological statistics showing,
how increased life expectancy is being eroded by a rise in overweight and obesity, which in turn are a consequence of sedentarism and inappropriate dieting of individuals.
These negative lifestyle situations are also expressing themselves in the appearance and increase of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disorders, which are producing disability and premature mortality.
These phenomena are occurring in all regions of the world, on all genders, and in urban and rural areas alike.
The study has immediate implications for individual behavior change, plus urgent adoption of universal conventions and national legislation and policies.
Keywords: Life Expectancy; Longevity; Obesity; Physical Inactivity; Poor Diet; Sedentarism
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