Worldwide obesity rates are on the up, but who is to blame for the nation’s expanding waistlines?
This January, the National Obesity Forum (NOF) made a worrying announcement. In 2007, the influential Foresight Report warned that by 2050 more than 50% of people in Britain could be obese. Now, just seven years on, NOF suggests that this could be an underestimation and that the situation is actually far worse.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures, obesity has nearly doubled since 1980. In 2008, more than 1.4bn adults were overweight around the world. Now, 65% of the world’s population live in countries where being overweight or obese kills more people than malnutrition.
While obesity is widely recognised to be multi-factorial in origin, WHO acknowledges that one of the problems is that we are increasingly exposed to energy-dense yet micronutrient-poor foods high in fat, sugar and salt, which tend to be lower in cost but also lower in nutritional quality.
So, whose fault is it really that we are more obese? Is it the fault of the food industry creating these goods, or is it up to the individual? Aren’t food manufacturers simply responding to demand for cheap, convenient products? Isn’t it up to us to make our own choices about what we do and don’t eat?
Do you think food manufacturers are explicit enough when it comes to the nutritional value of products? What influences your decisions when it comes to buying food?