Forget East-West, North-South, rich-poor: The new main division in Earth's population is an ever-growing rift between the frightfully obese and the frightfully hungry, experts say.

"The world is bifurcating into a group of people who have too much and a group of people who consume too little," John Hoddinott of the International Food Policy Research Institute told Al Jazeera America. "And its more marked in the developing world because chronic undernutrition remains much more prevalent."

The number of obese people on Earth has nearly tripled since 1980, and numbers in Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East are rising nearly as fast as in North America—still the fattest continent on the planet.

Despite a historical association of fatness with wealth and starvation with poverty—nearly a billion earthlings still go hungry every day, according to the World Food Program—the obesity explosion seems to largely transcend socioeconomic status. It's given rise to a new phenomenon, "hidden hunger," in which overeating crappy processed foods simultaneously leads to overweight and undernourished consumers.

One cause is corporate globalization, the experts say: Until we figure out how to make an apple cheaper than a bag of Cheetos, or to make generally healthier local cuisines appear as attractive alternatives to easily produced and transported salty-sugar artery bombs (Now! In triple chocolate with sirloin tips!), we're gonna be fatty sick pups.

[Photo credit: AP]