Obesity is a condition marked by excessive fat accumulation. It is one of the biggest challenges in the world of health and nutrition currently. According to a latest study, obesity rates are rising faster in rural areas as compared to cities. The team analysed the height and weight data of more than 112 million adults across urban and rural areas of 200 countries and territories between 1985 and 2017.
More than 1000 researchers across the world were associated with the study. The findings revealed that from 1985 to 2017, BMI rose by an average of 2.0 kg/m2 in women and 2.2 kg/m2 in men globally, equivalent to each person becoming 5-6 kg heavier.
The findings stated that more than half of the global rise over these 33 years was due to increases in BMI in rural areas. In fact, in some low- and middle-income countries, rural areas were responsible for over 80 per cent of the increase. The findings have come in as a shocker, as until now many people perceived obesity as a prevalent problem of high-income countries.
Since 1985, average BMI in rural areas has increased by 2.1 kg/m2 in both women and men. But in cities, the increase was 1.3 kg/m2 and 1.6 kg/m2 in women and men respectively.
"The results of this massive global study overturn commonly held perceptions that more people living in cities are the main cause of the global rise in obesity. This means that we need to rethink how we tackle this global health problem," Majid Ezzati said.
The study also said that BMI has been generally higher in rural areas since 1985, especially for women.Lower income and education, limited availability and higher price of healthy foods, and fewer sports and leisure facilities, may have led the increase in BMI, the scientists predict.
"Discussions around public health tend to focus more on the negative aspects of living in cities. In fact, cities provide a wealth of opportunities for better nutrition, more physical exercise and recreation, and overall improved health. These things are often harder to find in rural areas," Ezzati explained.
Meanwhile, rural areas in low- and middle-income countries have seen shifts towards higher incomes and better infrastructure but all of this has also led to lower energy expenditure and to more spending on food, a lot of which is processed and low-quality.
"As countries increase in wealth, the challenge for rural populations changes from affording enough to eat, to affording good quality food," Ezzati added.
5 Diet Tips To Manage Obesity
1. Do not starve. Starving is not a sustainable strategy to lose weight. Choose well. Have a proper balanced diet plan. Split your bid meals in multiple small meals
2. Ditch junk, refined and ultra-processed foods like fries, burgers, sausages and sugary treats like doughnuts and pastries.
3. Opt for whole variety of foods. Whole wheat, whole grains, brown rice, whole fruits etc. They are rich with fibre. Fibre helps induce satiety. If you feel full you would naturally binge less.
4. Eat a lot of seasonal fruits and veggies. They are important for your daily dose of antioxidants. Free radical damage is also linked with many chronic metabolic disorders. Ensure 3 servings of seasonal vegetables per head and 2 of whole fruits per day.
5. Keep the intake of sugar to less than 10% of your total calories. A lot of foods have natural sugar in them too. Keep a track of that as well. Sugar does no good to body, and adds to empty calories.
(With inputs IANS)