Latest Information on Global Obesity Studies 2014 – Who is Responsible?

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

ON BBC World News yesterday Tam Fry from the National Obesity Forum spoke about the increase of obesity world-wide.

Their Global Obesity study showed:

  • Almost 30% of people are obese or overweight.
  • The US makes up 13% of the obese population
  • Two-thirds of obese people live in developing countries.
  • China and India represent 15% of obesity world-wide.
  • No country has cut obesity since the 1980’s

Mr. Fry suggests those in China and India are adopting western habits and moving away from their traditional cultural diet by eating at well-known fast food places, mostly because it’s a chic thing to do.  Some countries in the Middle East also have the thought of obesity as a sign that one doing well economically.  

The WHO (the World Health Organization) studies found that more than 40 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2012. They want governments to do something about regulations and legislations over foods high in sugar and salt.  “The individual is at the mercy of the system, and it’s only the government which can regulate and legislate the system that will actually solve this in the end….,” says Fry.

Fry believes it will take 15 – 20 years for that to happen, depending on how much is done and how quickly, mostly because politicians “are reluctant to think past the next election.”  Regulations and legislations are then often left as a responsibility for the next person in power to deal with.

Blame on obesity isn’t limited to government legislation and regulations, at the end of the day it is up to each of us to get involved in physical activity and take an active role in avoiding fast foods, foods high in saturated fats, food and drinks high in sugar on a daily basis.  We need to learn how to read the ingredients on packaged products.  As parents it is up to us to guide and teach our children what are proper food eating habits, and if we aren’t sure about what that is, we do have the ability to contact school nurses and nutritionists to provide us with that guidance.  Most medical doctor offices can also direct us to helpful information as well.

Our will-power is the first step to overcoming our addictions to sugar and salt-filled foods.  We set the example for our children.  Food and drink manufacturers and fast food corporations hide the amount of salt and sugar in their products triggering our addictions. Diet and “low fat” packaged foods are often the culprits.  This is the legislation and regulation area that Mr. Fry is also referring to that needs to be changed.  The more we are educated about these sneaky manufacturing practices, the easier it is for everyone to make wiser decisions.   We can’t wait 15-20 years for the government to do something about it, especially when it’s leading to children dying before their time.


Photo Credit: Raktim Chatterjee at




BBC World News May 29, 2014, PBS St. Louis, Missouri.





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