Watch above: Why some consider obesity the biggest threat to public health. Crystal Goomansingh reports.
TORONTO – Move over tobacco, obesity is the new global public health threat.
Consumers International and the World Obesity Federation are calling on governments around the globe to acknowledge and address the public health threat on our plates, or more accurately, in the bag of food on the car seat.
“For the first time in history being overweight is linked to more deaths than being underweight,” said Amanda Long, the director general of Consumers International, an independent organization with a mandate to protect and empower consumers.
Long will be in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday to present her agency’s report entitled, Recommendations towards a Global Convention to protect and promote healthy diets.
She wants the report to be a starting point for the World Health Assembly to write a health treaty similar to the one signed by member nations to combat tobacco uses when it was determined to be a threat to public health.
“The whole story behind the framework convention on tobacco controls is part of this story because that was a ground breaking international agreement. It built political will and it led to coordinated action around the globe. Now when you’re talking about the massive scale of death as a consequence of obesity only when policy makers work together, only then will be start to see a difference being made here.”
The foods at issue are well documented as causes of obesity and are generally are high in salt, sugar and fat.
Long says governments need to put public health before the interests of business.
On Tuesday the Canadian Medical Association Journal, also known as the CMAJ, published a study from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. It projects by next year obesity will overtake smoking as the most common risk factor for heart disease
In a press release put out by the CMAJ, Dr. Doug Manuel said, “obesity is a major problem in Canada, affecting nearly one in five adults. Our study suggests that escalating rates of obesity are diabetes are counteracting gains in population health being made in other areas, such as smoking an high blood pressure.”
Obesity is not an issue for Jason Holborn. His tall, lean body reflects on the large hand-made sign hanging in his Toronto apartment window. Everyone walking by can see his 511 days sugar free poster.
“Sugar is an addiction,” Holdborn adds, “It never dawned on me that I could go 300 never mind 511 days without sugar.”
Holborn cut out all added sugars. He said the idea came to him after reading many articles and books about health and wellness.
“I think one day kids will see an old magazine with a junk food ad and say you guys really ate that stuff every day,” he said.
He said it will be the same reaction people have now looking back at old cigarette advertisement when society didn’t believe smoking was bad for your health.
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