Study: Global Obesity Outbreak Due to Overflowing Food Supply

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Jul 02, 2015 06:07 AM EDT

Obesity is now considered a major health concern in the world due to the continuous and rapid increase of its incidence every year. With several programs being implemented by the government in the United States and other countries, experts are left perplexed as to what caused the outbreak and how can it be stopped.

A recent study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO), has found out that there is a link between global food supply and an individual's body weight, especially in developed or high-income countries.

Processed food products are the origin of the available extra calories, according to Stefanie Vandevijvere, author of the study and senior research fellow in global health & food policy at the University of Auckland, via Health News. Individuals have easier access in obtaining these type of foods as they are highly commercialized, affordable, ready-made, and flavorful.

Researchers subjected data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and WHO on food supply and body weight to an intensive examination. By comparing 69 different countries, researchers noted that the usual sources of food supply are from importation, local produce or exportation, and own livestock breeding.

Through observation, the researchers discovered that there is a direct relationship between the food supply and the consumption of individuals. With consumption on the rise, the number of overweight individuals and the amount of food waste will also increase. Vandevijvere adds that with additional factors like sedentary lifestyle and expanding urbanization, the world's obesity problem will continue to surge, hence becoming epidemic.

Health Day also reports that part of WHO's Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, declared in May 2013, is to stop global obesity. The plan suggested having food subsidies and taxes managed to encourage countries to fight against obesity.

According to Dr. Francesco Branca, the director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at WHO, the implementation of these policies can unfortunately be stalled if the government in that country doesn't have any guidance in creating a working food system. He notes that all sectors, like the food production, health, social welfare, education, and agriculture should work together to guarantee success.

Vandevijvere and her team urge government officials to come up with sturdy policies that can help find ways of supplying healthier food to the public and, in turn, decrease global obesity rates from rising.

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