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Culture, Evolution, and Obesity

Obesity is the world's leading noninfectious health burden. Approximately one-sixth of all humanity is overweight, and about 300 million—a number equivalent to the entire population of the United States—are obese, defined as a BMI (weight/height2) above 25 and 30, respectively. What the World Health organization terms a globesity epidemic is not uniform. The average adult in North America, Europe, and some parts of South America and the Pacific Basin is overweight, compared with fewer than 5% of East Asian adults. Even in China, however, prevalence in coastal cities has reached 20%. Nor are adults the only group at risk; today, 12% of all prepubescent children worldwide are obese as well as an estimated 22 million children under 5 years of age.

Overweight and obesity directly ...

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