Namibians Are Fat, but Not Too Fat

Namibians are fat, with more women obese and overweight compared to men, but not as fat as people in other countries where the rate of obesity was found to have escalated in the last 30 years.

Worldwide there are some 2.1 billion overweight or obese people today up from 857 million in 1980. This is according to The Lancet report released last week, which outlines scientific findings confirming that global obesity rates over the past three decades “have been rapid, substantial and widespread, presenting a major public health epidemic in both the developed and developing world.”

The study sample for the Namibian population indicates that 21.2 percent of men are overweight and obese with 6 percent obese, while 42.4 percent of women are overweight and obese and 19.8 percent obese. The trend starts among young boys and girls, where it was found that overweight and obese boys are 6 percent and obese boys 2.6 percent.

In sub-Saharan Africa Namibia has a slightly lower obesity rate, especially among women and girls, while Botswana and Zimbabwe have the lowest rates of obesity among boys and men, respectively. The 15-page report points out that because of the increase in overweight and the health risks associated with it, not many drugs on the market would be helpful to those who are obese, especially those with cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and chronic kidney disease. Most deaths attributable to overweight and obesity are cardiovascular deaths.

“Therefore, even with aggressive drug therapy, increased rates of overweight and obesity can be expected to have substantial health effects and increase the prevalence of diabetes, osteoarthrisits, cancers, and major vascular disease,” the report says.

The Botswana figures indicate that 6.6 percent of the boys are overweight and obese, with 1.8 percent of the boys obese. Overweight and obese among men is 25.5 percent and obese 5.8 percent, while in women overweight and obese is 52.6 percent with 24.1 percent of the women obese. About 22.4 percent of the girls are overweight and obese while 7.2 percent are obese.

Zimbabwean men’s overweight and obese rate is 16.5 percent with 4.2 percent being obese. The obese among women is 17.4 percent, while those overweight and obese are 41.9 percent. To determine how or who is too fat the study uses the body mass index to say adults aged above 18 years with body mass index (BMI) of between 25 and 30kgm2 are overweight, while those above the BMI of 30kgm2 are not only overweight but obese too. Children are measured according to the International Obesity Task Force measures.

“Although appetite is necessary for survival, increased exposure to processed food is overwhelming people, and effective strategies to reduce body-mass index (BMI) in populations are scarce. Understanding this situation, so that acceptable remedial action can be properly discussed and implemented, should be an essential part of public health policy in the next few decades,” says the report.

The Lancet study, which was conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, was a first-of-its-kind analysis of data between 1980 and 2013 from 188 countries. The report does however admit to some important limitations. “We included surveys that collected self-reported weights and heights. In our analysis, we recorded a systematic bias, but this bias is greater in some regions than in others (e.g, high-income countries and the Middle East vs low-income countries),” the report says.

Source : New Era