First world problem: Death by fat
Children as young as 10 are at risk of heart disease. Doctors are faced with obese toddlers, and teenagers that weigh up to 200kg. Kids are fat, and getting fatter, and it’s no surprise if they’re guzzling soft drinks and gobbling fast food.
Dr Matt Sabin, from the Royal Children’s Hospital weight management clinic, says: “We’re not talking about a little bit of extra weight, we’re talking about severely obese children”.
The United States and Australia are experiencing a lethal ‘fat crisis’ that is growing steadily worse.
Last year obesity overtook smoking as the leading cause of premature death in Australia. Last week a prominent American doctor suggested removing grossly overweight children from their parents and placing them in foster care in order to save them from premature death.
We see it happening in others more readily than we recognise it in ourselves. Watching television coverage of events in the United States, how often have you remarked about the number of Americans who are grossly overweight?
That’s because they are. Two thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. More than 44 million Americans have passed the overweight mark and are now considered obese.
Twelve million of them are ‘severely obese’ or 100 pounds or more overweight. Obesity rates among children in the U.S. have tripled in the last generation. One in three American youngsters is either
obese or overweight.
Obesity is currently costing the United States more than $150 billion a year.
Unfortunately, by comparison, we in Australia have little room to strut (or waddle).
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that 61 per cent of adults in this country are overweight or obese. One in four of our children is also either overweight or obese and the problem is getting worse, not better.
Obesity is costing Australian society more than $58 billion annually.
We now know that excess fat often means a premature death. In 2005 a panel of scientists in the United States predicted that ‘unless aggressive efforts are made to slow rising rates of obesity’ Americans could be facing their ‘first sustained drop in life expectancy in the modern era’.
In other words, our fat is killing us. All the figures indicate that Australia faces the same obesity related threats that the U.S. is currently experiencing.
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