Iraqis Getting Fat: I Blame Bush
There’s an obesity epidemic in Iraq that’s been fueled by the war, Tina Susman reports for the LAT.
For most of the last five years, sectarian violence has drastically altered Iraqis’ lifestyles. Most retreated to the safety of their homes and became increasingly sedentary, rarely venturing out of their neighborhoods. To go out was to risk being kidnapped, killed by a bomb or caught up in the other violence plaguing Iraq. Curfews hindered people who tried to remain active.
Statistics on obesity in Iraq are difficult to come by, but a World Health Organization survey in 2006 found that 26% of men and 38% of women ages 25 to 65 were obese, with a body mass index of 30 or higher. Though no direct comparisons are available, roughly 33% of American men and 35% of American women were considered obese in a 2005-06 study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.
It’s not implausible that Iraqis who are scared to leave their homes are putting on weight. But I’ll need more than a couple of anecdotal cases, vague scary talk, and random statistics that tell us nothing about trends.