Obesity is a worldwide health disorder and several countries are trying to tackle this issue. It is concerning news that year after year the rate of obesity is rising and this is causing a huge spike in obesity-related health conditions.
The US is ranked 12 among the highest obese nations worldwide with a percentage of 36.2 of its adult population being obese.
Nauru, a small Island nation in the Central Pacific is the most obese country in the world with a staggering 61 percent of its adult population tested as obese.
Like America, the Republic of Nauru also depends a lot on processed foods that are high in sugar and trans fat.
Why Is Nauru The Most Obese Country?
But the issue is not that simple, there is a complicated connection of historical events that led to Nauru being the nation that it is today.
During the 19th century, European marine travelers used to trade weapons and alcohol for food with the Nauruans.
This resulted in alcoholism and civil war in the country that lasted for almost ten years and finally in 1886 peace was restored, and alcohol was banned
After this, Nauru was under Germany for thirty years and at the beginning of the 1900s, Phosphate deposits were discovered here. This was a revolutionary turn in the history of Nauru as this was a hugely popular mineral for fertilizer manufacturing.
Hence, a lot of European powers invested their time and resources in Nauru to mine phosphate. The large mining structures are still there on the Island and these are a reminder of the extent of exploitation that happened in this small nation.
Even though different colonizers came and went, the state of mining was constant and this was drying up the resources of the island at a very fast rate.
Nauru themselves took control of the phosphate mining by 1968 and they also found this to be a profitable business that was providing them a lot of GDP. The phosphate deposits were exhausted by the 2000s and by then the whole nation had been strip-mined.
Economic Condition Of Nauru
As a by-product of this, agriculture and irrigation were not possible in Nauru and they had to depend on processed foods from nations like Australia and New Zealand.
As mining also created a lot of wealth for the average Nauruan citizen, living a lavish lifestyle, importing food from other countries, and leaving their jobs had become a regular affair.
The government of Nauru also never had a long-term plan to sustain the economy or to have foresight as to what needs to be done once the phosphate resources are depleted.
Today around 20 percent of the land is fertile in Nauru and this has been mostly developed into residential areas. Together with obesity, Nauru also has the highest percentage of diabetes in the world with around forty percent of the total adult population. Nauru is a classic example of how colonization can destroy an entire nation’s resources, health, and future.
The country was struggling with its economy since the phosphate mining was exhausted and in 2006 they had gone bankrupt.
The population on the Island was also facing a tough situation as unemployment was rising to very high rates because of the lack of any other forms of economic sustainability. The country had started campaigns to sensitize the citizens to start physical exercise to tackle the problem of obesity.
But this is just one part of the problem being addressed as the habit of consuming processed food has become an integral part of the island diet.
Adults and young people consumed sugary foods in the place of fruits and fish which was available on the island before the phosphate mining started.
The long-term dependence on processed food diets has brought in multiple health conditions. Blindness and amputations are most common because of the prevalence of a high diabetic population.
Lifestyle And Overweight
Upon the Nauru government’s request to the International Court of Justice, reparations from Australia, the UK, and New Zealand were given but these weren’t enough to pull up the crashing economy of Nauru.
As of today, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has been in an effort to create sustainable agricultural models on the Island.
They have started educating the islanders, especially the farmers about different techniques to grow crops like Coconut. The current goal is to create a sustainable agricultural model on the island so that the basic nutrient needs of the citizens are satisfied by naturally grown or acquired food.
The citizens of Nauru are realizing the effects of obesity and they are trying to make amends in their lifestyle to get out of this health hazard that can affect future generations as well.
In the US too, obesity is turning out to be a national problem as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that around $173 billion has been spent annually as the cost of treating obesity-related issues in the country.
Both children and adults suffer from obesity and this can be addressed only through strict lifestyle interventions. The CDC has initiated community campaigns, health check-ups, etc. to make the citizens aware of obesity and its larger effects on the quality of life.
Obesity leads to other health problems like blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, metabolic disorders, thyroid, etc. If you are struggling with being overweight, consult a registered dietician or healthcare provider to get a diet regimen that compliments your lifestyle. Physical exercise and a de-stressing environment can also help reduce weight and create total well-being for yourself.
Oily and salty foods like deep-fried stuff, snacks, mayonnaise, processed meats, etc should be avoided at all costs. Leafy veggies, fresh fish, and lean meat should be added to the diet. Children should be restricted from having foods that contain sugar syrups or high sugar content in general. They should be trained to do regular exercise by getting them involved in activities like outdoor sports, martial arts training, etc.
If they are spending too much time on the couch, playing video games, or watching television then it should be restricted. These are some general tips that can be followed to fight obesity and lead a healthy life.