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The Paradox of Global Famine and Global Obesity

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At no other time in history has the world experienced so much discrepancy between the enormous amount of people who are either obese or face acute starvation. In June of 2008 the United Nations reported that more than one billion people face acute food shortages. Most of these people live in developing countries located in the southern hemisphere. Today that number has increased to more than 1.5 billion and will only continue to escalate. At the same time the number of people who are obese has risen comparatively to those who suffer food shortages. In western nations this number is increasing at an alarming rate and in China where that population is now adopting a Western style diet their obesity level has risen from 1.5% in 1989 to more than 15% today.

Escalating global hunger and obesity levels are all part of the single food crisis that has economic, geopolitical, and environmental dimensions. This is the basic way in which global inequality is manifested. The biggest cause in this inequality lies in the competition for basic grains like corn, wheat, oats, etc. The growth of countries like China where their population is shifting away from harvesting grains as their base food source to one of more meat consumption or Western style diet this involves and necessitates diverting vast quantities of grain from humans to cattle. Throw in now the diversion of these grains to the processing of biofuel just adds more grain being diverted from human consumption to fuel automobiles. This diversion away from grain consumption to meat is the primary reason why in Western countries the obesity levels are increasing at alarming rates.

Rising meat prices is brought on by the increasing rate meat is consumed, the increasing amount of production of biofuels, the importation of enormous amounts of grain to feed the cattle, to the processing of biofuel keeps grain prices rising which leads to shortages of grain which leads to famine in those developing countries. Now nations are relying on governments instead of their own local farmers for their country’s food. This also leads to famine where many of the world’s nations today have unstable governments.

The continuing spiraling of grain prices, increasing meat consumption, and biofuel production are the three biggest facets of the multidimensional global reality that is affecting how each nation produces, distributes, and consumes food. Other aspects that affect this reality includes climate change, speculation and collusion on all commodity markets, The dwindling grain reserves, and export restrictions imposed by other nations to protect domestic consumers have all lead to the spread of this global paradox between famine and obesity.

What is needed now to slow down this widening gap and improve all standards of living whether facing famine or becoming obese is going to take a multi-national effort to increase grain production, limit the amount of grain used for the production of bio fuels, convert to green technologies in supplying fuel for automobiles and increase the education for all that every human needs a balance diet and not one that is based solely on meat consumption to curb the rate of obesity from increasing. This will benefit all economies where funds will now be available for other endeavors instead of financing health problems associated with obesity. Implement these solutions will improve everyone’s chances from facing famine or obesity.



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