International Child Obesity
Obesity has reached such epidemic proportions that world health officials have decided they need to take a more aggressive approach if they are to head off a global explosion of fat-related diseases.
After years of focusing on promoting healthy eating to dampen demand for junk food, the World Health Organization is now examining what can be done on the supply side – enlisting the cooperation of food producers.
In the last two years, experts have confirmed that obesity, diabetes and heart disease – commonly thought to be afflictions of the affluent – are spreading to the developing world, but new research provides the clearest picture yet of the global situation.
The picture looks all too familiar, even in regions suffering from malnutrition. Figures from Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean were included.
International Obesity Task Force
“We estimate that 22 million of the world’s children under 5 are overweight or obese,” said Mary Bellizzi, an expert with the International Obesity Task Force who presented the research to health ministers at the meeting.
Research indicates that in some parts of Africa, fatness and obesity afflicts more children than malnutrition does – sometimes four times as many.
“In small studies in Africa you will find that 0.7 percent of the children are showing features of malnutrition, but over 3 percent are showing up overweight or obese,” said Neville Rigby, public affairs director at the International Obesity Task Force.
The organization estimates that 300 million people worldwide are obese and 750 million more are overweight.
In the United States, some 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese, as are nearly 13 percent of children.
The obesity task force estimates that in some countries, more than 30 percent of the children are obese.
In Egypt more than 25 percent of 4-year-olds are fat and that obesity rates are also more than 25 percent among children aged between 4 and 10 in Chile, Peru and Mexico.
Junk Food & Weight Control
In Zambia and Morocco, between 15 and 20 percent of 4-year-olds are obese. Although WHO believes junk food consumption has to be controlled, it is not approaching the issue as aggressively as it has tackled tobacco.
“It may very well be that food producers will look at advertising, but we are interested in what they will do positively with us – promoting physical
activity on a worldwide scale, trying to make the less salty, less sugary, less fatty products more available and more attractive to young people.”
SOURCE: CBS News, 2002
Weight Loss Advice
No matter how much excess weight or fat you have, if you want to lose weight permanently, your diet program should be directed toward a slow, steady weight loss. According to official government dietary guidelines, unless your doctor feels your particular health condition would benefit from more rapid weight loss, you should expect to lose no more than 2 pounds of fat a week, although initial loss (mainly water) may be greater. Losing more weight is no guarantee that weight loss is likely to be permanent.