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.