Obesity Challenge: the U.S. Isn’t Alone

September 28, 2010

Obesity is a global challenge.

Obesity is a global challenge. The trend continues badly in the United States: a 30%+ obesity rate among adults in 1999 prompted a national goal to halve it to 15% by 2010. The needle moved in the other direction, however, according to a Reuters account of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. 

CDC researchers found that by 2007-2008, 27% of adult men and 35% of adult women were obese. Clearly, the earlier goal will not be met this year. “Our trend analysis [of obesity] shows [it] may still be increasing among men,” wrote Dr. Earl S. Ford and his team of the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, in the International Journal of Obesity.

We’re not alone. A couple of stories from the Xinhuanet news service in China gives a glimpse of the worldwide problem.

In Australia, for instance, the New South Wales Food Forum, which includes state government officials and public health experts, recently discussed the possible listing of fat and calorie information on fast-food menus. Bruce Neal, a professor of medicine at the University of Sydney, has already called for the industry to voluntarily reduce the salt content of fast-food meals. The report anticipated a new partnership between fast-feeders and the Australian Food and Grocery Council to address nutrition and health issues.

Meanwhile, more than one-third of school-age children in Shanghai are said to be overweight or obese, according to Tang Qingya, director of the Clinical Nutrition Center of Shanghai Xinhua Hospital, reported Xinhuanet. Shanghai is tops in the entire country in this regard, and the hefty proportion is still growing, the health expert said.

The Lempert Report says it will take more voluntary industry cooperation – perhaps under the threat of government regulation – as well as better nutrition education to begin arresting weight gains and point consumers toward a healthier future. We see this as a shared responsibility of industry, government, science and consumer discipline to lighten up and become fitter.

Ironic, with such hunger around the world, that so much energy will be needed to start correcting the global weight problem.