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Ann Agric Environ Med. 2014;21(3):590-4. doi: 10.5604/12321966.1120608.

Obesity and poverty paradox in developed countries.

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Department of Allergology and Environmental Hazards, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland.
Department of Public Health,Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland.
Department of Inorganic Chemistry, Medical University in Lublin, Poland.
Great Poland Center of Allergology and Aesthetic Dermatology "Art Clinic", Poznań, Poland.


Obesity is a civilization disease and the proportion of people suffering from it continues to grow, especially in the developed countries. Number of obese people in Europe has increased threefold over the last 20 years. The paradox of obesity and poverty relationship is observed especially in the developed and developing countries. In developing countries, along with economic development and income growth, the number of people with overweight and obesity is increasing. This paradox has a relationship with both the easy availability and low cost of highly processed foods containing 'empty calories' and no nutritional value. To date, this paradox has been described in the United States and the United Kingdom, although many European countries are also experiencing high percentages of obese people. Among the reasons for the growing obesity in the population of poor people are: higher unemployment, lower education level, and irregular meals. Another cause of obesity is low physical activity, which among the poor is associated with a lack of money for sports equipment. Due to the large rate of deaths caused by diseases directly linked to obesity, the governments of many countries implement prevention programmes of overweight and obesity. These programmes are based primarily on educating the public about a healthy lifestyle based on healthy eating, daily physical activity and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes.

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