‘Put pictures of fat people on junk food to show the dangers’: Experts say rising obesity levels pose greater health risk than smoking
- Rising obesity levels pose greater risk to public health than smoking
- World Obesity Federation and Consumers International are calling on governments to impose stricter rules on the food industry
- Could include pictures on packets showing the damage caused by obesity, similar to those on cigarettes
- Reducing salt, saturated fat and sugar levels and improving food served in hospitals and schools is also part of the plans being announced this week
- Experts say action must be taken now to avoid global health epidemic
Campaigners today said the food industry should be regulated in the same way as the tobacco industry, in the face of the worldwide obesity epidemic
Food packaging should include pictures of the damage obesity can cause health, similar to those on cigarette packets, campaigners said today.
Experts have urged governments across the world to tackle the obesity epidemic by regulating the food industry along the same lines as the tobacco industry.
Rising obesity levels poses a greater global health risk than smoking, prompting international bodies to join forces to call for more stringent rules.
The World Obesity Federation and Consumers International is leading the call for stricter controls on how food is advertised, with plans to introduce pictures on packaging showing the damage caused by obesity, similar to those introduced on cigarette packets in 2011.
Improving the nutritional information on packaging and raising the standards of food provided in hospitals and schools could also form part of a plan put forward by the CI and WOF.
The new rules could also involve reducing salt, saturated fat and sugar levels in food, and directing more funds at educating the public about healthy eating.
It comes as experts say unhealthy diets now rank above tobacco as a global cause of preventable non-communicable diseases.
Global deaths attributable to obesity and being overweight have rose from 2.6million in 2005 to 3.4million in 2014, prompting experts to warn of an epidemic.
The CI and WOF will officially launch their recommendations for a Global Convention to protect and promote healthy diets at the World Health Assembly in Geneva this week.
They will call on governments to commit to a raft of policy measures designed to help people make healthier lifestyle choices.
International Director General, Amanda Long said: ‘The scale of the
impact of unhealthy food on consumer health is comparable to the impact
‘The food and beverage industry has dragged its feet on meaningful change and governments have felt unable or unwilling to act.
only answer remaining for the global community is a framework
convention and we urge governments to seriously consider our
recommendations for achieving that.
they do not, we risk decades of obstruction from industry and a repeat
of the catastrophic global health crisis caused by smoking.’
Obesity Federation Director of Policy, Dr Tim Lobstein said: ‘The global
prevalence of obesity – defined as a BMI of more than 30 – doubled between 1980 and
2008, to 10 per cent of all men worldwide, and 14 per cent of all
The World Obesity Federation and Consumers International are calling on all governments to take action and impose more stringent controls on how food is advertised, salt, saturated fat and sugar levels as well as calling for healthier food in hospitals and schools and greater education of the public
‘That’s 205 million men and 297 million women – more than half a billion obese people.
‘In terms of numbers, the United States has led the way, but they are closely followed by China, Brazil, and Mexico.
figures show the scale of the problem to be addressed.
‘If obesity was
an infectious disease we would have seen billions of dollars being
invested in bringing it under control.
because obesity is largely caused by the overconsumption of fatty and
sugary foods, we have seen policy-makers unwilling to take on the
corporate interests who promote these foods.
‘Governments need to take collective action and a Framework Convention offers them the chance to do this.’
The publication of the new recommendations come on the 10th anniversary of the World Health Organisation Global Strategy on Diet and Physical Activity and Health, which recognised the health impact of unhealthy diet and lifestyle.