From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Obesity is a condition in which the natural energy reserve, stored in the fatty tissue of humans and other mammals, is increased to a point where it is associated with certain health conditions or increased mortality.
In earlier historical periods obesity was rare, and achievable only by a small elite, although already recognised as a problem for health. But as prosperity increased in the Early Modern period, it affected increasingly larger groups of the population.
In 1997 the WHO formally recognized obesity as a global epidemic. As of 2008 the WHO estimates that at least 500 million adults (greater than 10%) are obese, with higher rates among women than men. The percentage of adults affected in the United States as of 2015–2016 is about 39.6% overall (37.9% of males and 41.1% of females).
The rate of obesity also increases with age at least up to 50 or 60 years old and severe obesity in the United States, Australia, and Canada is increasing faster than the overall rate of obesity. The OECD has projected an increase in obesity rates until at least 2030, especially in the United States, Mexico and England with rates reaching 47%, 39% and 35% respectively.
Once considered a problem only of high-income countries, obesity rates are rising worldwide and affecting both the developed and developing world. These increases have been felt most dramatically in urban settings. The only remaining region of the world where obesity is not common is sub-Saharan Africa.
Overweight in fiction
- In Rubens's time, overweight women were just a passing fashion [see here], just as extremely skinny women are a passing fashion in the early 20th century and today.
- The overweight, doughnut-eating cop who believes skateboarding is a crime
- The work of Fernando Botero
- The work of Jenny Saville
- The work of Carlos Reygadas, and especially Battle in Heaven.