In Brazil, like many Third World countries today, obesity has become a bigger problem than malnutrition. Welcome to a side effect of globalization – globesity, as it is being called.
Out of the 95.5 million Brazilians who are 20 years of age or older, 38.8 million, or 40% of them, are overweight and 10 million of them are obese, according to standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The numbers have been confirmed in the latest household survey by the government statistical bureau (IBGE) for 2003, which was released last week.
The IBGE says eating habits are to blame. People are eating more processed food, fat and sugars. The survey shows that weight increase is a gradual process for most people. However, usually men get fatter faster and younger than women.
Brazil’s overweight men are concentrated more heavily in the South region (46.2% of the male population is overweight), the Southeast region (44.4%) and Central-West (43.4%).
The percentage of the male population that is overweight falls to 34% in the North and Northeast regions. And most of the males who are overweight live in urban areas.
Interestingly, the IBGE survey shows that overweight women are mainly found in rural areas, except in the Northeast, where the percentages are just about equal, with a slight tilt to the urban ladies: 39.4% of the urban female population is overweight, and 36.8% of the rural female population is overweight.
Translator: Allen Bennett