Since the 1980s, obesity has spread at an alarming rate. Â Across OECD countries, one in 2 adults is currently overweight and 1 in 6 is obese.Â The rate of overweight people is projected to increase by a further 1% per year for the next 10 years in some countries.
And it’s not just us grown-ups.Â Our kidsÂ haven’t been spared – we have allowedÂ 1 in 3 of the world’s kids to become overweight.
And if dooming our kids to a lifetime of obesity and nasty nicknames wasn’t bad enough, we’re also shortening the lifespans.
- Severely obese people die 8-10 years sooner than those of normal-weight, similar to smokers, and they are more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
And even if they can handle the teasing and their imminent early death, do we really want to burden them with increasing amounts of healthcare debt?
- Obesity is a burden on health systems, with health care expenditure for an obese person at least 25% higher than for someone of normal weight.
So, what are we going to do?
According to the OECD, cooperation between governments and the private sector is key to the success of combating obesity.
A prevention strategy combining health promotion campaigns, government regulation and family doctors counselling their obese patients would avoid hundreds of thousands of deaths from chronic diseases every year. It would cost from USD 10 to USD 30 per person, depending on the country. Failure would impose heavy burdens of future generations.
Question for the OECD
I will agree that cooperation between government & the private sector is undoubtedly very important in reversing global obesity, but what about the impact of us – regular people?
Why does the OECD assume that only government & business can impact change?
I see community groups springing up all over the U.S. attempting to reverse obesity in their little corner of the world. And unlike most large-scale anti-obesity programs, some of these people-centric programs actually work.
I also see online health & fitness communities sharing advice & experience with each other.
All without spending a bazillion tax dollars in order to tell us what we already know.