Voices From Russia, Too

Friday, 12 August 2011

VOR Presents. More Money… More Fat?

According to observations by experts, when people grow more prosperous, their weight goes up as well. Especially, one can see this tendency clearly in the BRICS countries. According to the World Health Organisation, countries such as China, India, South Africa, Brazil, and Mexico, saw a sharp increase in obesity along with their growth in GDP growth. Scientists called this trend an “epidemic”; they insisted that we fight it at the state level. In the image above, we see a shot from the TV series Lost (USA, 2004-09), a hit with an international cult following).

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To date, the increase in obesity and a consequent frequency of co-morbidities such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and infertility is a phenomenon observed mainly among the affluent classes, but it’s also spreading to low-and middle-income groups, even in “developing” countries. In the image above, we see a still clip from the movie Treasure (USA, 2009).

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The dramatic increase in the level of obesity observed in developing countries is happening faster, and is kicking in at a lower level of GDP, than it did in Europe and the USA 20 or 30 years ago. In the image above, we see a still clip from the movie Fat People (Spain, 2009).

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More than 100 million people suffer from obesity in China, there’s widespread childhood obesity in Brazil, and the prevalence of obesity is higher in South Africa than it is in the USA, even though its per-capita GDP is only one-eighth that of the American figure. In the image above, we see a still clip from the movie Shallow Hal (USA, 2001).

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In Mexico, one in seven adults is overweight… only Americans are “fatter”. In the image above, we see a still clip from the movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (USA, 1993)

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However, the “thickness of the wallet” effect has only an indirect effect on the thickness of one’s waist. Usually, people get fat because they abuse the benefits of civilisation… they use a car instead of walking, they eat more fast food, they drink more alcoholic beverages, and they spend their time using digital technology instead of exercising. In the image above, we see a still clip from the film Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (USA, 2000).

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Scientists have shown that babies that sleep less than 8 hours a day don’t produce enough of the hormones that control appetite. TV shows, mobile phones, and computers have a stimulative effect on kids, which, of course, shortens sleep. In the image above, we see a still clip from the film Alice in Wonderland (USA, 2010).

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In Russia, people often gain weight when they find themselves in a tight situation, for they tend to opt for affordable, but often caloric, food at such times. In the image above, we see a still clip from the film Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (literally, A Girl-Prisoner of the Caucasus, or Shurik’s New Adventures (Кавказская пленница, или Новые приключения Шурика) (USSR, 1967) (on the right, the great clown/comedian People’s Artist of the Soviet Union Yuri Nikulin (1921-97), the star of the classic comedy Самогонщики (Samogonshchiki: The Moonshiners)).

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Studies show that, by 2015, the number of obese people worldwide could exceed 3 billion. In the image above, we see a still clip from the movie Shallow Hal (USA, 2001).

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If earlier lists of dangerous habits placed drunkenness and smoking at the top of the heap, gluttony has displaced them. Today, gluttony is much more likely to bring about life-threatening diseases and death than drinking and smoking put together. In the image above, we see a reproduction of the painting Bacchus (1638-40) by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens.

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Obesity has an adverse effect on the economy; an increase in the number of obese people results in a loss of productivity and other disagreeable consequences. In the image above, we see a still clip from the film Fat Albert (USA, 2004).

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On 19 September 2011, world leaders and organisations concerned about global health will gather for a two-day UN summit on non-communicable diseases to try to come to a wide-ranging agreement on how to control fat, sugar, and salt content in processed foods. In the image above, we see a clip from the movie Fight Club (USA, 1999).

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11 August 2011

Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/photoalbum/54523426/54523437/index.html

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