Imperfect dietary habit  

Published: February 12, 2019 22:11:51 | Updated: February 14, 2019 22:02:56

The contention of a report released globally by the Lancet Commission is highly disturbing for the world population. It finds that 2.1 billion adults are overweight or obese and the incidence of diabetes has doubled over the past 30 years. This means that about one-third of the global population is facing the problems. The reasons behind these health problems are high-calorie and unhealthy diets, a large portion of which is heavily processed and obtained from animal sources. Accusing fingers have been pointed at a shift in the food habit in favour of ill-nourishment of human body. The report concludes that unhealthy diets have proved to be the largest burden on the human race not only because of the diseases caused but also because of the risks of morbidity and mortality outweighing that of unsafe sex, alcohol, drug and tobacco use combined.

Once the problem of obesity was a major concern in Europe and America. But gradually the prevalence of obesity and diabetes has been on the rise in low-income and developing countries. In six of the world's most populous countries, half of the diabetic patients live now. The fact is in these countries half of the world's population also lives. This seems to be a simplification of the prevalence of diabetes. Because in countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia the prevalence of the disease is on the rise while in America it is declining. What looks like making this happen is people's awareness of the harmful foods and conscious choice for alternative diets instead. In the United States of America and some other European countries, people are increasingly opting for organic foods and at the same time jealously maintaining their physical fitness. Such efforts are paying dividends.

Clearly, the situation has already turned worse and with the planet becoming at the receiving end of the climate change, the future of mankind looks even bleaker. By 2050, the world population is likely to hit the 10 billion mark. Unless the global average temperature cannot be contained below 2 degree rise on the pre-industrial level, the production of crops in many areas are predicted to suffer losses. The news for South Asia and Africa in this regard is hardly encouraging. Well, climate adaptation by this time through scientific research and introduction of advanced technology may offset some losses.

Until now, however, the problem is not one of paucity but of plenty. Sure enough, at the bottom rung of society in Bangladesh people are malnourished because they do not have enough nutritious foods to eat. But people above this category also are undernourished because their diets are not balanced at all. Overwhelming dependence on animal protein and processed foods do not provide them with the right kind of nutrition. Either they are obese or suffer from ingredients essential for keeping the body in its right frame. This is further exacerbated by lack of burning calories and body fat. Bringing change in dietary habit and subjecting the body to a physical exercise regime, people can improve their health.

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