“Global Obesity Rise Puts UN Goals on Diet-Related Diseases ‘Beyond Reach’
The fight against the global obesity epidemic is a spectacular failure. Concern over the rise in diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other conditions fueled by obesity led to a UN summit in 2011. At the UN summit they set the embarrassingly modest goal for 2025 of “not increasing” obesity or diabetes any more beyond the record-high 2010 levels.
It’s now clear this fight is heading towards disaster. Based on the current trend the 2010 level of 11.5% global adult obesity has already hit 13% and is going to hit 17% by 2025 – or almost 1 billion people.
Adding in those who are overweight as well as obese, by 2025 there will be about 2.7 billion with excess weight, up from 2 billion in 2010.
Child obesity figures are also rising in many developing countries, particularly in the Middle East, Latin America, China and parts of south-east Asia. Mexico has some of the highest levels of child obesity in the world. This means there will eventually be further worsening of the adult figures.
Behind the world’s weight gain is the rapid transition from traditional foods, often grown in the community, to modern urban diets – and especially the take-up of sugary soft drinks and snacks. Increased sedentary behavior is also a major issue.
Drinking soda and regularly eating Western food full of refined carbohydrates leads to obesity. Adding some exercise is not going to stop that any more than it can stop people from getting lung cancer from smoking.
Dr. Tim Lobstein, World Obesity Federation director of policy says that we know how to tackle obesity. “Preventing obesity means tough government action to limit the promotion of junk food, especially to children, to ensure healthier food is offered at work, in schools and institutions, and to encourage physical activity through better urban design and transport systems.
“We know the answers to the obesity crisis. We know that tough policies will need to be implemented, and we know that such policies are challenged by powerful commercial interests. But we have no choice if we hope to meet those 2025 targets.”
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