According to medical experts, levels of obesity across the globe are reaching epidemic proportions. A major debate at a UN medical conference in New York will now be focusing on the subject of obesity.
Jamie Oliver and also Sir David King, former government chief scientist, are alongside the coalition of health experts and nutritionists who are encouraging western nations to help stop the increasing numbers of obese people across the planet.
Oliver told the One Young World conference in Switzerland, “There seems to be a trend with developing countries wanting to follow in the footsteps of the western world, and copy their patterns of fast food and consumerism.” He said that there was a particular problem in the Middle East, South America and India.
Oliver explained that “Pre-packed convenience food is seen as a symbol of being ‘modern’ in developing countries, but the problems it causes are long-term, and costly”. Many restaurants are finding it cheaper to serve fast, fatty food because of the increased cost of commercial restaurant insurance, supplies and other costly overheads.
Oliver has called for a “global movement to make obesity a human rights issue” and set up a petition and urged people to sign it. His aim is to encourage the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon and other heads of state to “sit up and take notice”.
Oliver is also a firm believer of national dishes and urged countries to hold on to them and for recipes to pass from generation to generation. “I believe that together we can make some real noise ahead of this meeting of experts,” he said.
King wrote in the Lancet, “We need changes in many aspects of our environment to avoid the morbid consequences of overweight and obesity. This change will require global political leadership across public policy, considerably broader than that of health policy, and far better monitoring.”
He wrote that “By 2050, 60% of men and 50% of women could be clinically obese.
“Without action, obesity-related diseases will cost the UK £45bn a year. Research and action should therefore be undertaken to avoid what could develop into a massive problem, not just for the UK, but also globally.”
There are many factors that are blamed on the rise of obesity including jobs away from manual labour, the increase of car use, the availability of cheap, high calorie foods and also the rise in urban living.
However, King insisted that it is not people being lazy or overeating that is causing the current obesity epidemic, but how people that much less choice in the matter of their weight than they would imagine.