SILVIA LANDI

ROME / ITALY

PROJECT: GLOBESITY

“Human food is the foundation of culture and sentiment. If you want to improve the people, give him better nutrition. Men are what they eat “(Ludwig Feuerbach). Obesity has become a global problem, called Globesity, and is now considered an epidemic by World Health Organization, which threatens the health of all nations. Indeed, for the first time in human history, the world has more overweight than underweight people. According to the WHO data, there are around 1.9 billion adults overweight, of those 600 million are considered obese. Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kill more people than underweight (this includes all high-income and most middle-income countries). Synonymous of opulence and wealth in the Renaissance, celebrated for centuries in art as a symbol of beauty, obesity has been in the past closely linked to the idea of well-being and fertility. From the Greek Venuses to the “soft” Roman beauties, from the refined Renaissance ladies to the seventeenth century excess, the eras models so distant in space and time, had in common the “chubby lines” of a body that today we could define “fat”. The symbolic and cultural value of the fatness has changed over the centuries and changes from culture to culture, but the social, economic and political implications behind the modern phenomenon of globesity, must be sought not only in the excess of food, but also in poor quality of food, and in the lack of opportunity and access, by the poorest population groups, to quality food and to adeguate medical care. Obesity has long been considered a by-product of the typical lifestyle of the rich countries, but recent studies show that it is becoming a common phenomenon even in the developing countries, South Africa is an example, where live two problems in apparent conflict with each other: the unsolved problem of hunger and malnutrition and the emerging epidemic of obesity and related diseases. The origins of this alarming situation have often been associated with globalization and poverty, and caused by the spread of food and cheap drinks, rich in sugars and fats, which have radically changed the eating habits of people, who lives below the poverty line, without access to quality food and eating cheap junk food. South Africa, is a leader in this new trend, with an obesity rate nearly double the global average and becoming one of the world’s fattest nation (two-thirds of the population are overweight), driven by the popularity of cheap junk food, sugary drinks, fat- and salt-laden crisps and fried chicken who are becoming popular in South African diets. “Globesity” it is an ongoing project that wants to show the globesity phenomenon, and its consequences, in some target countries.

 

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