Junk Food Is Going Global—And So Is Diabetes

Last Update: May 10, 2022

Loads of fast food. Piles of sugar. Gobs of fat. The world is following America’s lead when it comes to eating—and that’s not a good thing.

A new report in British journal The Lancet reveals that there’s been a 45 percent rise in diabetes worldwide between 1990 and 2013 alone. The numbers make it clear that it’s not just Americans who have an unhealthy relationship with food.

UPDATED June 9, 2015—9:27 a.m

The vast majority of this increase was due to the rate of Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of this disease that is often related to obesity. Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, only accounts for about 5 percent of all people with diabetes, and occurs when the immune system starts to destroy the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas.

As early as 2004, junk food made up a whopping 25 percent of the American diet—a number that’s only worsened over the past decade. Not only are we eating the wrong things, but we’re also eating too much of it, too; in 2014 alone, the average American consumed roughly 1,996 pounds of food, and much of it is terrible for our health.

Consider the following:

● On average, Americans consume 126 grams of sugar per day—nearly three times the amount suggested by the World Health Organization for someone of normal weight.

● Soda and fizzy drinks account for roughly 7 percent of the average American’s daily calories—the highest number in history.

● More than 35 percent of Americans are overweight, with 34 percent considered obese. In addition, 17 percent of children and adolescents are considered overweight or obese.

Is it really any wonder then that 29 million Americans suffer from diabetes (and that 1 in 4 aren’t even aware of it)?  But maybe now that the problem is spreading across the globe, more people will wake up—health doesn’t come in a fast-food bag.

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk via Flickr

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Jennifer Still

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with an obsession with iced coffee, bad TV, and getting up way too early. You may know her from HelloGiggles, Bustle, Buzzfeed, xo Jane, or, or you may not know her at all. Either way, you can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill.

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