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Tighter economic regulation needed to reverse obesity epidemic -- study
Date:2/2/2014

This news release is available in Spanish, French, and Arabic.

Geneva, 3 February 2014. Governments could slow and even reverse the growing epidemic of obesity by taking measures to counter fast food consumption, according to a study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization today.

The study, by a team of researchers based in the United States and Ireland, is the first to look at the effects of deregulation in the economy, including the agricultural and food sectors, and the resulting increase in fast food transactions on obesity over time. It suggests that if governments take action, they can prevent overweight and obesity, which can have serious long-term health consequences including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Rather than looking at the density of fast food outlets or self-reported fast food consumption as researchers have done in the past, the authors took the novel approach of taking data on the number of fast food transactions per capita from 1999 to 2008 in 25 high-income countries and compared them with figures on body mass index (BMI) in the same countries over the same time period as an indication of fast food consumption.

A person with BMI of 25 or more is considered overweight, while one with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

The authors of the study found that while the average number of annual fast food transactions per capita increased from 26.61 to 32.76, average BMI increased from 25.8 to 26.4. Thus, each 1-unit increase in the averag
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Contact: Fiona Fleck
fleckf@who.int
41-227-911-897
Bulletin of the World Health Organization
Source:Eurekalert

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