Weight gain and obesity have been major health concerns for people across the world. These lifestyle issues not only have their own set of problems but also lead to various severities including diabetes, heart risks, cholesterol et al. As per the World Health Organization, the rate of global obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. One of the main factors that lead to excess fat deposition in the body is our food habits. Experts suggest that over the years, our focus shifted from whole grains, pulses and other plant-based foods to the decadent sugary and fat-laden dishes (pizza, fries ice-cream et al). And this food pattern further leads to various health-related troubles.
A recent study explained that if this dietary trend continues, then almost half of the world population will be overweight by 2050. Conducted by the researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), it was a first-of-its-kind study and assessed the consequences of the current nutrition transition from starch-based diet to processed foods. The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
According to the findings- more than 4 billion people (45%) could be overweight and 1.5 billion (16%) of them may suffer from obesity, by 2050. The report also observed that 500 million people worldwide may still remain underweight and suffer from malnutrition.
"If the observed nutrition transition continues, we will not achieve the United Nations goal of eradicating hunger worldwide. At the same time, our future will be characterised by overweight and obesity of mind-blowing magnitude," said Benjamin Bodirsky from PIK, lead author of the study.
Further speaking about the findings (for both overweight and underweight population), researchers claimed that this can be an aftereffect of the insufficient global distribution of food and also the recent shift in our dietary pattern.
"There is enough food in the world- the problem is that the poorest people on our planet have simply not the income to purchase it. And in rich countries, people don't feel the economic and environmental consequences of wasting food," co-author Prajal Pradhan from PIK explained.
The researchers concluded saying that the study can open a pathway for the much-needed policies across the countries for a "qualitative transition towards sustainable and healthy diets".