The public has been told that to prevent obesity, sugar consumption should be reduced, but there is no such guideline for meat. Country-specific levels of obesity and obesity were derived from the Body Mass Index (BMI). These were linked to the per capita per day country-specific availability of major food groups (meat, sugar, starch, fibre, fat and fruit crops), total calories, per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP PPP), urbanisation and prevalence of physical inactivity. The overlapping of Fisher’s r-to-z transformation and Beta (B) spectrum (B ± 2 Standard Error) was used to search for possible variations between the effects of correlations and regressions. The Pearson correlation showed that the supply of sugar and meat both associated substantially with the incidence of obesity to the same degree. In regulating the supply of calories, physical inactivity, urbanisation and GDP PPP, these relationships persisted in partial correlation analysis (r=0.359, p<0.001 and r=0.354, p<0.001 respectively). Fisher’s r-to-z transformation showed no substantial difference in Pearson correlation coefficients (z=-0.53, p=0.60), partial correlation coefficients (z=-0.04, p=0.97) between sugar and meat Multiple linear regression analysis found that in both Enter (B=0.455, SE=0.113, p<0.001 and B=0.381, SE=0.096, p<0.001, respectively) and Stepwise (B=0.464, SE=0.093, p<0.001 and B=0.433, SE=0.072, p<0.001, respectively) models, the two most important predictors of obesity prevalence were sugar and meat availability. The overlapping B ranges observed in the Enter (0.289-0.573) and Stepwise (0.294-0.582) models showed no statistically significant difference in the supply of sugar and meat associated with obesity. The availability of sugar and meat is comparably related to the prevalence of global obesity. To stop obesity, dietary recommendations should also recommend minimising meat intake. Taking into account the results of the adverse effects of meat on obesity and the environmental impact of meat processing, similar to the public campaign against unnecessary sugar intake, the national authorities should also warn the public not to follow a high-meat diet for long-term, balanced weight control.

Author (s) Details

Dr. Wenpeng You
Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Unit, Adelaide Medical School, the University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, 5000, Australia.

Maciej Henneberg
Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Unit, Adelaide Medical School, the University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, 5000, Australia and Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

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