It is a challenge and a disappointment. Countries continue to have a majority of citizens with poor diet quality, but now the cause is an abundance of energy dense, nutrient poor foods not a scarcity of nutrient rich ones. With increases in GDP the type of food available to people and the ways in which those foods are prepared appears to change.
The Western Diet of meat, dairy and refined grains takes the place of a plant based meal pattern. This transition has occurred in China, Mexico, India, Brazil, Egypt to name a few. These countries are considered emerging markets and are the target of the food industry.
Most of us see the connection between international companies such as KFC, mcDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell and a rise in BMI. However, as pointed out by Professor Barry Popkin (2007), another Western trend - the supermarket - impacts the diet as well. His research shows a relationship between obesity in developing countries and these stores. Yes that is right AND it makes sense. Think of the Western countries - with over 60% of their populations overweight or obese - UK, USA, Australia, etc. Perhaps you live in one. You can confirm that the calorically dense, high processed foods are for sale inside supermarkets.
We talk a lot about the lack of availability of healthier foods (fruits and vegetables, whole foods), but it is not availability as much as it is access. Remember - access includes, cost, brand and taste preferences, convenience, and competition. See the pictures below from one store. This is just a sample of the displays within that store.
Increasingly, nearly every environment in which food and people meet is an obesogenic (obesity causing) one.
|Notice that in the middle photo there are about six different (junk food) displays down the aisle. The photo on the right has two - candy and donuts. These were taken at the front, middle & rear of the store.|