Way, way, way back in 1980, high blood pressure, obesity, elevated cholesterol and insulin insensitivity were problems restricted mostly to rich, western countries. Less affluent nations may not have had two cars in every driveway, but they had a population that was far leaner, fitter and healthier than their “economic superiors”.
Unfortunately, new data (2008) shows that middle-income countries have become just as fat and, in some cases, even more unhealthy than in high-income countries.
Studying data from 199 countries over the period between 1980 and 2008, researchers found that…
- There is no longer any relationship between national income and high blood pressure. Poor countries are just as bad off as rich countries
- Women in poor countries have higher BP than women in rich countries
- While BMI is still lowest in poor countries, it is higher in middle-income countries than in rich countries
- The link between elevated fasting blood sugar levels (precursor to diabetes) and affluence is disappearing
Professor Majid Ezzati, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, who led the research, said: “This study shows that non-communicable diseases are no longer ‘diseases of affluence’. They’ve shifted from being epidemic in rich countries to become a truly international pandemic.Â “If current trends continue, developing countries will be confronted with a rising tide of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Meanwhile, developed countries will continue to face an epidemic of diabetes and high cholesterol.”
All in all…pretty bad news