Last week there was news of a rare victory -- if you can call it that -- in Americans' decades-long battle against bulge: We're no longer number one in obesity, it turns out, we're number two. The dubious distinction of fattest country now goes to Mexico, where 32.8 percent of the population is obese, and where rates of obesity and overweight have tripled since 1980.
But another thing happened in that same time period: Mexicans have been moving to cities. The urban population in Mexico increased by 36 percent between 1965 and 2000, and it is estimated that more than 82 percent of Mexicans will live in cities by the year 2030.
A new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization shows that the two trends might be connected.
There are many things that go wrong when you don't eat the right kinds of food, but the one of the most serious problems is stunting -- put simply, kids don't grow like they should when they don't eat enough. Another is micronutrient deficiency, or a lack of vitamins and minerals, which can lead to ailments like anemia or goiter.
In any given country, as more people move to cities, the prevalence of stunting diminishes. Meanwhile, micronutrient deficiencies persist, even among obese people. Then, gradually, micronutrient deficiencies also decline, and you're left with just very urbanized, very fat countries.