Rampant. This is the word used to describe the increase in Ecuador of this modern world disease.
Over the last ten years, the exposure of Ecuador and other advancing countries has brought with it some of the pitfalls:the proliferation of the fast food or the takeaway.
As these countries move away from the traditional industries and take up more of the ways of the modern world, such as that of the USA, there has been an increase in the incidence of obesity.
The increased intake of sugar, fats, carbonated drinks, and sodium, have with the change in lifestyle produced a cocktail of the modern life drawbacks that have outpaced the country's ability to address.
Hence, the speech last week by the President of Ecuador to implement a tax on the fast food industry.
Obesity and diabetes are crippling enough, but when a recorded increase in both over the last ten years of 75% has been seen, the time is right to take action.
Changes in lifestyle and work habits have contributed to this dilemma.
But so has the fast food industry, with smart advertising and supersizing of meals, their contribution is measurable.
They are not the only culprit. Here (Ecuador), it is hard to find drinks in the stores that have sugar contents below 25 mg., and foods that have alarmingly high levels of sodium.
Some may say that this is a choice, but you just have to look at the US to see what has been going on there. Processed foods, fast food chains, and big conglomerates target the low income with poor life quality food and drinks.
The same thing has been going on here; but the difference here is the ability to deal with it. Over the last six years, money has been diverted to the health care system, infrastructure, and education.
The food revolution that has taken place was not a consequence foreseen. In the last year, we have seen that labeling of food products has been improved and brought into line with the EU.
Warning labels are now seen on carbonated drinks, public information ads are shown on the TV and heard on radio.
This last week with the speech made by the President, indicating that he will introduce a fat tax on the fast food industry may help, but the damage has been done for this generation.
The pains of a country wanting to move up and improve the social, educational and health of its people are demonstrated by problems such as this, but they can be overcome.