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UN report urges govt food regulation to tackle global obesity epidemic

Someone with a BMI of 25 or more is overweight, while a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

Source : RT / 4 Feb 2014

A study by the UN health body finds that deregulated food markets result in more people eating fast food and an increase in the obesity epidemic. Governments could slow and even reverse the epidemic by tighter control of the fast food market.

The new report, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO), found that if governments took decisive action they would be able to prevent people becoming overweight and the long term health consequences that go with it, which include diabetes, heart disease and cancer, Reuters reports.

“Unless governments take steps to regulate their economies, the invisible hand of the market will continue to promote obesity worldwide with disastrous consequences for future public health and economic productivity,” said Roberto De Vogli of the University of California, who led the study.

The research analyzed the effect of deregulation of the economy on the agricultural and food sectors and the impact on fast food.

The study then compared the number of times an individual bought fast food with their body mass index (BMI) in 25 high income countries, between 1999 and 2008.

As the annual number of fast food transactions (or purchases) increased from 26.61 to 32.76 per person, the average BMI also increased from 25.8 to 26.4. Someone with a BMI of 25 or more is overweight, while a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

The sharpest gains were in Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, but the lowest were in countries which have stricter regulation on the fast food market, such as Italy, the Netherlands Greece and Belgium.


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