August 22, 2007
The World Is Fat: Obesity Now Outweighs Hunger WorldWide
In this episode University of North Carolina Chapel Hill nutrition epidemiologist Barry Popkin discusses the growing problem of obesity, even in developing countries that only recently faced hunger as their primary diet challenge. Popkin is the author of the article The World Is Fat in the September Scientific American. Plus we'll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Websites mentioned on this episode include: www.nutrans.org; wwwtheskepticsguide.org
Welcome to Science Talk, the weekly podcast of Scientific American for the seven days starting August 22nd. I am Steve Mirsky. This week on the podcast:
Popkin: We have a world that is consuming more and more saturated fat and more and more hard fat meats and dairy products than we ever could have imagined 10 to 20 years ago.
Steve: That's Barry Popkin, author of the article "The World Is Fat," in the September issue of Scientific American. We'll hear from him this week, plus we'll test your knowledge about some recent science in the news. Barry Popkin is a professor of nutrition epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he directs the Interdisciplinary Center for Obesity. His research focuses on the changes in diet and activity in the U.S., China, Brazil, the Philippines and other countries and his article appears in the special September issue of Scientific American magazine, which is called feast and famine, all about diet, health and food. I called Popkin at his home in Chapel Hill.
Steve: Hi Professor Popkin. How are you today?
Steve: Tell me about this article and this subject, "the world is fat." Obviously it's fat if you walk around the U.S. but the world is now fat. There is an amazing fact right in the beginning of your article and that is, "there are not just more obese people in the world than there are hungry people in the world now, there are actually more obese people in developing countries than there are hungry people in developing countries." That really floored me.
Popkin: Yeah! It's what we really see in the developing world is in the last two decades, exponential change in a vast array of courses that have led people to move less and eat a lot more and the resultant increase in overweight and obesity is unprecedented.
Steve: When you say move less, you mean, actually walk less or bicycle less?