Since I started this blog last March, I’ve been writing about the great need to work on improving our overall health. I’ve brought up the shocking statistic that by the year 2050 one in three Americans will have Type II diabetes.
Those with ethnic backgrounds will have it even worse. Unless things improve quickly, a full fifty percent of Hispanic and African-American children born in the year 2010 will develop the disease.
If you doubt these numbers, I want to tell you about the tiny island of Nauru. It has the unfortunate designation as the fattest country on the planet. Only 8.1 sq. miles, it has a population of around 10,000. It’s the smallest independent republic on earth, but the waistlines of those who live in what should be an island paradise are anything but small.
A full 95% of adults are overweight, and 85% of men are clinically obese. Those diagnosed with Type II diabetes has reached 50%, which represents the highest prevalence of diabetes on earth. Sadly, this wasn’t always the case for the people of Nauru.
In the 1980’s, Nauru achieved great wealth, thanks to mining operations taking place on the island. At one time, they held the #2 spot for the highest per capita income in the world. With all their newfound wealth, the islanders quickly adopted a western lifestyle which included fast food and highly processed food.
Fruits and vegetables are expensive in Nauru because, for some reason, just about everything has to be imported. So, these islanders don’t get them often, settling instead for burgers, french fries, and sugary drinks.
Prior to the 1980’s, the prevalence of obesity and diabetes was low on Nauru. This health crisis has developed in just thirty years! According to the president of Nauru, the average lifespan for men has dropped from 56 to 48 in just the last five years.
If you want to continue to be shocked by what’s happening on this island republic, check out this ABC news report. Please take a few minutes and watch it. It provides a great incentive for getting your health back on track.
I want to end on a positive note. The people of Nauru are starting to change. They recently had a National Weight Loss Competition, and young people are being educated about the need for a healthy diet and exercise. It’s a great start.
I know that this is happening in the United States as well. It can’t come soon enough.