The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines an individual as obese if his/her Body Mass Index (BMI) is 30 or above. A 2016 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that obesity is not only a high-income country problem as it affects about 13% of the world’s adult population. In the case of children and adolescents aged 5 – 19, over 340 million were found to be overweight or obese.These findings reflect an alarming trend of obesity cases globally. According to WHO, elevated BMIs pose major risk factors for noncommunicable diseases such as stroke and diabetes.
According to American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US. In 2012, reports by the NIH indicated that an estimated 29.1 million Americans lived with diabetes and the WHO reports that 1.5 million people died from complications from the disease that same year. Diabetes and its complications impact households in economic terms as well, driving up costs in national economies through direct medical costs and loss of work and wages. Sadly, of the 422 million adults living with diabetes estimated in 2014 by WHO, as much as 8.1 million were unaware of their condition. Studies conducted in 2016 by Washington University School of Medicine show that obesity and diabetes-related diseases can be reduced up to 40-60% by simple changes in the lifestyle of individuals, yet number of those affected worldwide continue to rise.