Obesity Poses Global Health Threat

Project Syndicate: The Global Obesity Threat
Richard Dobbs, director of the McKinsey Global Institute, and Boyd Swinburn, professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at the University of Auckland and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in Melbourne

“In 2010, humanity passed an important milestone. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, obesity became a bigger public health problem than hunger. Today, according to the latest edition of the study, more than 2.1 billion people — nearly 30% of the global population — are overweight or obese. … More than 60% of the world’s obese people live in developing countries, where rapid industrialization and urbanization are boosting incomes and therefore calorie intake. … To make matters worse, in countries with limited public health services, the cost of health care falls directly on the afflicted households. As a result, obesity can lock in poverty and perpetuate inequality. … For many countries, tackling obesity will require a national — if not global — effort. … We do not yet have all the answers when it comes to the best way to tackle obesity. But the rapid rise in obesity rates around the world creates a strong case for experimenting with interventions, to see what works…” (4/2).