Monday, 4 January 2010

Fat Camp- Egypt

Check out the article by Laura Cunningham over at Global Post which pegs Egypt as the number FIVE fattest nation with 66% of Egyptians overweight.
In the 1960s, Egypt produced enough food to feed its people a steady diet of red meat, poultry, lentils, maize and dairy products. But by the 1980s, the population had outgrown food production, leading to an increase in food imports that created poorer eating habits. Obesity among Egyptian women is particularly high, often attributed to cultural taboos on women exercising or playing sports.
This would seem to be rather sick, especially when considering that 45% of the population live on or just under the poverty line.

However, conferences by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Health Organisation have pinned this fact not being down to a lack of food but a focus on the wrong type of food as a staple. Egyptians put a heavy importance on rice, pasta and bread- all calorie laden carbohydrates which are cheap to purchase and filling.

So many Egyptians would seem too poor to lose weight. Unlike developed countries which have watched their girths expanding because of junk food, sweets and other luxuries, Egyptians have been seeing their BMIs rising due to an inability to access a balanced diet.

Though representatives of the WHO have claimed that it is an ignorance of the right diet which has lead to this situation, a simple survey of grocery prices in Cairo would certainly reveal that many do not have the luxury to get their '5-a-day'. Bread will always be cheaper (at 0.20LE per loaf) than a bag of oranges (4LE per kilo), will go further and keep starvation at arms length.

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