The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has recently published the Obesity update 2012. The document provides an overview of the latest figures on those classified as overweight or obese, as well as documenting the measures being taken to counter the epidemic.
The following trends were emphasised in the Report:
Projections suggest that by 2020, more than 2 out of 3 people will be overweight or obese in several OECD countries;
in financial terms, obesity is estimated to be responsible for 1% to 3% of total health expenditure of most OECD countries - obesity is also a major cause of many chronic diseases.
Every yearan obese person incurs 25% higher health expenditures than a person of a normal weight
while there are no signs of a decline in obesity or overweightness in any countries taking part in the study, some of them have seen a stabilisation of their rates over the past few years: Italy, Hungary, England, Korea, etc.,
the highest rates of childhood obesity remain stable in four countries: France, England, Korea and the US,
there is a strong social gradient in terms of obesity rates with women with little education being two to three times more likely to be overweight than more educated women,
social disparities remain in children and in the job market which reflects failure of governments to protect the most vulnerable."
After providing an overview of the situation regarding overweightness and obesity in several OECD countries, the report presents a series of recommendations:
comprehensive prevention strategies and increases in dedicated funding have the potential to prevent substantial numbers of deaths caused by diet-related conditions,
governments have a role to play, through persuasion, education and information campaigns, regulation and fiscal measures (increasingly implemented over the last few years).
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