In surprising news, the United States is no longer the world’s fattest nation. The rest of the world is gaining on us, putting on more weight at a faster pace. This is especially true in Pacific island nations and in the Middle East, where Kuwait now represents the world’s fattest industrialized nation.
Both regions are struggling to adapt to modern, sedentary lifestyles over a rather short period of time.
Depression affects 121 million people worldwide. In can affect a person’s ability to work, form relationships, and destroy their quality of life. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide and is responsible for 850,000 deaths every year. New research published in the journal BMC Medicine compares social conditions with depression in 18 countries across the world.
In conjunction with the World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey Initiative, researchers from 20 centers collaborated to investigate the prevalence of depression around the globe. To be classified as having had a major depressive episode, a person was additionally required to fulfill five out of nine criteria, including sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.
Based on detailed interviews with over 89,000 people, the results showed that 15% of the population from high-income countries (compared to 11% for low-/middle-income countries) were likely to get depression over their lifetime, with 5.5% having had depression in the last year. MDEs were elevated in high-income countries (28% compared to 20%) and were especially high (over 30%) in France, the Netherlands, and America. The country with the lowest incidence was China, at 12% but, in contrast, MDEs were very common in India (at almost 36%).