The world is getting fatter, but malnutrition is still widespread. There is a large divide between overeating and literal starvation. If the world were 100 people, 18 would be obese and one would be starving. There is a large gap in food being distributed evenly. The world has around 2.1 billion overweight people, and in developing countries, they make up over 50 percent of the population.

Kuwait is officially the most obese country in the world – and there is no hiding it! Especially with the recent upsurge of stomach stapling surgeries, in which Kuwait ranks first as well, with 5,000 stomach staplings performed every year for a population of only 4 million.

With 42.8 percent (with an estimate 60 percent by 2020) of the population classified as obese in Kuwait, and 70 percent overweight – it is no surprise that this condition has been plaguing generations of families in the state. Worldwide, 13 percent of the population is obese, out of 7.5 billion people.

This has stemmed from the massive fast food industry in Kuwait. Some people complain “there is nothing else to do”, and during Ramadan, we have luqaimat, overly sugary teas, samosas and a plethora of other unhealthy food that we eat a lot of. Diabetes levels in Kuwait have become a growing concern in Kuwait, with type 2 diabetes ravaging our children’s lives.

Obesity is an issue affecting people of all ages and incomes everywhere, and no single country has managed to stop or even slow down the rate of obesity – and this trend will continue. Overweight people are more prone to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis and kidney disease, and the soaring numbers are placing a heavy burden on healthcare systems, according to a study. Worldwide, 3.4 million deaths have been linked to high body weight, and now children are starting to die earlier than their parents, a burden the elderly must bear due to their children being struck by the effects of being overweight.

Overall, from 188 countries, the rate of overweight adults has grown by 28 percent, and a horrifying 50 percent for children. In fact, 25 percent (contrasting with 8 percent in 1980) of children are now classified as overweight in developing countries, with adolescent girls being the category of concern in the Middle East.

WHO aims to stop this epidemic by 2050. Kuwait tried in 2013 to enforce a program dubbed “Kuwait National Program for Healthy Living: First 5-Year Plan (2013-2017)” with very recognizable solutions and issues as to why this is happening – such as the population’s faith, believing the Creator will lift the burden of being overweight, to improving school environments. It has also provided many goals such as reducing hip to waist ratio. It will be very interesting to see the conclusion of this program soon.

Good luck Kuwait!

By Sana Kalim