- By Diyana Ishak
For a continent that is usually associated with hunger and malnourishment, it may surprise you to learn that Africa is falling victim to a condition that has typically been a Western concern – obesity. According to the World Health Organization, more than one-third of African women and a quarter of African men are estimated to be overweight, and both statistics are set to rise to 41 percent and 30 percent, respectively, over the next decade. South Africa faces the worst problem, with 56 percent of adult women classified as overweight or obese. There is concern that, with impoverished African health services already strained with the task of treating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, weight-related illnesses may prove to be a burden too many. As Michael Birt contends in FP‘s September/November issue,
…economic growth and development is hastening the arrival of rich-world diseases before poor countries’ health systems can prepare.”
Also, check out our “Battle of the Bulge” Prime Numbers piece for a closer look at obesity on a global level.
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.| Passport |