Africans are consuming fewer calories, but obesity rates are going up. What could be responsible? Experts say calorie intake has reduced nationally over the years, but obesity rates are outpacing overweight rates in general.The problem seems to be that everyone is okay with consuming less, but doing less.
While it is true that the average person is consuming less, they are still consuming significant added sugars and soft drinks.
While the bad news is that more people are considered obese than overweight, it would seemingly indicate that those who are quite fat have got fatter.
These things might seem contradictory, but the data shows a particular lifestyle is to blame.
Granted, people are eating better, but they’re probably not taking care of themselves.
Experts describe obesity as a major health problem, and note that there is an increasing trend of overweight and obese individuals.
“Being overweight or obese is known to contribute significantly to morbidity and mortality rates in various countries around the world,”a nutritionist confirmed.
“It is clear that obesity rates have increased and continued to steadily increase,” says Yikyung Park, Associate Professor at Washington University.
Park says that even if calorie intake has been dropping over the last decade, it’s only part of the problem. “To maintain a healthy weight, the energy eaten has to come out. More people are spending time playing video games, watching TV, not walking, etc.
“Physical activity has gone down. People are not moving enough. And lifestyles are becoming sedentary.”
Park confirmed that although some studies may now show that calorie count is going down, it doesn’t mean that people’s physical activity has gone up.
“If people are eating less but also they are not moving around,” she explains, “it means again that there is an energy imbalance. People are not moving enough to burn those extra calories, and will gain weight over time.”
Compounding the problem is that extra calories come from nutritionless sources. “If the extra calories are coming from unhealthy food, it’s a problem for obesity and all other chronic conditions people are suffering from nowadays.
“It’s not just a problem with one part. It’s really hard to separate diet and activity from one person’s life. Generally people who tend to eat a healthy diet are the ones who probably move around a little more.”