Posted by: 4pack | April 7, 2010

Obesity In America: The More Rapid Rise In Obesity Rates Began In Periods Following Two World Wars

THE “OBESITY EPIDEMIC” HAS TAKEN MANY DECADES TO FORM AND DEVELOP…IT IS BASED ON THE CULTURAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES AND “IMPROVEMENTS” IN THE WAY AMERICANS LIVE AND EAT…

The obesity epidemic is generally portrayed as a relatively recent phenomenon, but new research paints a different picture.  John Komlos and Marek Brabec find (gated version here) that obesity rates actually began rising in the early 20th century, with significant upsurges after the two World Wars.  

The generally persistent upward trend was punctuated by upsurges, particularly after each of the two World Wars. That the estimated rate of change of BMI values increased by 71% among black females between the birth cohorts 1955 and those of 1965 is indicative of the rapid increases in their weight. We infer that transition to post-industrial weights was a gradual process and began considerably earlier than hitherto supposed.

The authors point out that “the ‘creeping’ nature of the epidemic, as well as its persistence, does suggest that its roots have been embedded deep in the social fabric and are nourished by a network of disparate sources…”  Komlos and Brabec point to factors like the industrialization of food production, the spread of automobiles, the spread of the media, the IT revolution, and the growing culture of consumption in America to explain the trend.

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/a-different-obesity-timeline/

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