As the economies and cultures in developing nations grow and become more westernized, they are also likely to see higher obesity rates, a new health study suggests.
Research by Rice University and the University of Colorado found progress in developing countries may improve conditions such as malnutrition and infectious disease, but obesity is also sure to rise as those nations embrace western diets and lifestyles.
"It's a troubling finding," said Justin Denney, who co-authored the new study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine. The researchers based their findings on an analysis of health trends and information contained in the World Health Survey -- an initiative of the World Health Organization -- of 67 countries.
The study found people with lower socio-economic status in developing nations are more likely to be obese for several reasons.
First, Denny said, there is a lack of education about health issues and the dangers of being overweight in the Third World. Secondly, poorer people face a lack of access to high-quality, healthy (and more expensive) food.