Introduction one can observe a significant increase

Introduction “Excess body weight is one of the most challenging public health problems of our time, affecting nearly one in every three people.”1, said Dr Ashkan Afshin, one of the lead authors of the Global Burden of Disease Study in 2015.  Obesity, or more precisely the pervasiveness thereof, has repeatedly been the subject of studies and its causes and possible remedies are commonly discussed in the media. From TV shows like “The biggest loser” and “Supersize vs. Superskinny”, obesity-related innovations such as bypass surgerys or aeroplane benches instead of seats to accommodate bigger people to debates on outright laws such as the New York trans-fat ban. It is almost impossible to close one’s eyes to the fact that obesity is a real and worldwide issue.  But first things first, before we dive into the analysis of obesity: What exactly is obesity and how can it be measured? The World Health Organisation defines obesity as a medical condition, whereby individuals have an excess amount of body fat2. The organization characterizes an adult to be obese if his or her BMI, which is the ratio of body weight in kg divided by the square of a person’s height in meters, is greater or equal to 30.2  Looking at data of the past century, one can observe a significant increase in weight and thus obesity worldwide, particularly but not limited to developed countries. The article “Why have Americans become more obese?” by Cutler, Glaeser and Shapiro explains most of the observed rise in weight as a positive development because it has happened as weight levels were below the recommended levels for optimal health. However, it is also mentioned that, that there’s clear evidence, for example by Fogel (1994), demonstrating that even after weight levels exceeded their recommended optimum when an increase of the BMI was significantly less beneficial to health, the average weight kept on rising. The rate by which obesity rises may have receded in the past decade but the overall trend is still positive. In fact, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study (2015), which examined data on 68.5 million people in over 70 countries between 1980-2015, the worldwide levels of obesity have increased significantly in the past decades. The study indicates that the level of obesity in the countries examined is twice as high as it used to be in 1980. To put “twice as high” into perspective:  According to the research of Public Health England, 14.9% of people were considered obese in 1993, that is roughly fifteen out of every onehundred people. In contrast, nowadays (as of 2015), a staggering amount of 24% of the population in the UK are classified as obese and 3% are even classified as morbidly obese.3

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