Obesity Leading To Deaths Worldwide

Sydney: Obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide, with around 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese, according to international health experts.

Globalisation has brought fast food culture to Chinese cities, contributing to major obesity problems. A study in 2006 found that over one-fifth of the one billion obese or overweight people in the world are Chinese, Xinhua reported.

One of the fattest nations in the developed world, Australia also shares this obesity problem. If Australians' weight gain continues at current levels, almost 80 percent of adults will be overweight or obese by 2025, according to Monash University.

To discuss the problem of obesity and evaluate a solution being developed by the Public Health Association of Australia, international nutrition experts met at an obesity and nutrition conference in Sydney.

The rise of multinational fast food outlets has been a key change in our environment leading to fatter foods and fatter people, said Bruce Neal, professor at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney.

"As fast as we get rid of all our traditional vectors of disease -- infections, little microbes, bugs -- we are replacing them with the new vectors of disease, which are massive transnational, national, multinational corporations selling vast amounts of salt, fat and sugar," Neal said.

Over time, consumers in developed countries have become acculturated to larger serving sizes that are well above what's necessary for an enjoyable, sensible and nutritious meal, said Tim Gill, associate professor at the University of Sydney's Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders.

"People will consume a portion that's put in front of them. People will seek value by purchasing the largest portion size, because it's relatively cheap compared to the smaller size. We've just had a disconnect in terms of what we need to eat and what we can purchase," he said.

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Source: IANS