In today’s world it seems that everywhere we turn, on every news feed and every TV channel there are advertisements for junk food. From worldwide conglomerations to corner store candy shops, our ability to obtain sugar, fat and sodium is easier than it ever has been. Whether we go through a drive-through, find a technicolor store beckoning us in or opt for a home delivery to make us feel like kings, junk food has become the global addiction that none of us seem to be able to kick.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that global obesity levels have tripled since 1975, and the majority of people in the world live in a country where more people die from being overweight that they do from being underweight. Obesity has become a global pandemic that has travelled to every continent and infected every city in the world.
The Cost of an Overweight World
With global obesity levels constantly on the rise, the effects of an overweight world can be felt far and wide.
The health effects are an obvious one, obesity has been linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer and musculoskeletal disorders. It has also been found that obesity is a risk factor for those that contract the COVID-19 Virus. The human body was not designed to carry large amounts of excess fat and obesity is a contributing factor in millions of death around the world every year.
A rise in obesity levels can also put a strain on the economy. The more unhealthy a population, the more it costs a country. Rising levels of chronic conditions requiring complex healthcare services and creating a situation in which people can not work is not conducive to making money.
Fast food outlets, often linked to be contributing factors to a rise in obesity levels, also create a significant impact on the natural environment. Increasing factors such as waste from packaging into the environment. In some areas in Australia, fast food stores have been banned in an attempt to stem the environmental impact on these areas.
What Do We Do From Here?
The good news is that the obesity epidemic is not something that is unsolvable. We know how to prevent and how to treat obesity. Things like government policies and incentives, such as sugar taxes, to encourage people to choose healthy eating options have been found to create a positive effect in some areas. Promoting physical activity, particularly in childhood is another method that is being used to try and stem obesity levels. As lower socio-economic areas are often the worst hit by obesity, healthy eating education programs and providing easy and cheap access to healthy foods in these areas is another way to try and lower obesity levels.
Obesity is complex problem. It has ramifications on public health, the economy and the environment and can be seen all around the world. Obesity levels may still be on the rise, fortunately though there are solutions to this problem and with a growing awareness of the dangers of obesity, countries around the globe have started to take steps to create a healthier world for us all.
For more information on the effects of obesity check out https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight