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Culture of fat

November 19, 2003 Articles, Princeton writings
On a flight from Tokyo to New York this past summer I read a very illuminating article about the world’s new epidemic: obesity. The commentary talked about how the fat culture is creeping in to poor countries, and how, in fact, the poor are even more susceptible to this problem. Mainly, the article articulated the point that the growing fast food culture has started producing an upsurge in unhealthy people. Even in places such as Ethiopia and Uganda, weight-loss clinics have begun to pop up in response to the changing waistlines of the populace. What caught my attention, however, were the figures for the United States and other developed countries. The U.S. has the highest incidence of obesity among all industrialised nations. In the U.S., over half of the adult population is said to be overweight, and a third are obese. The metric used for these numbers was the body mass index indicator, which is calculated as one’s weight in kilograms divided by one’s height in metres squared: BMI = kg/m2. A BMI in the range of (19, 25) is considered healthy, whereas a BMI over 30 is considered obese. (Women generally like the lower range and guys usually like…




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