Obesity is a worldwide problem with a study suggesting that pressure on dwindling resources will increase as more and more people keep getting fatter.
According to the World Health Organization’s World Health Statistics 2012, one in six adults is obese.
Key findings from the report:
- Worldwide, 2.8 million people die each year as a result of being either overweight or obese
- By 2008, 10 per cent of men and 14 per cent of women (half a billion people) in the world were obese, compared with 5 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women in 1980.
- WHO’s Region of the Americas has the highest percentage of overweight and obese people (62 per cent overweight in both sexes, and 26 per cent obese) and the South-East Asia Region has the lowest (14 per cent overweight in both sexes and 3 per cent obese).
No wonder governments have started considering measures to regulate high-fat or high-calorie foods.
In fact, some have already begun to embrace taxes and other regulation on foods that contribute to weight gain.
- Denmark imposed a tax in 2011 on foods containing more than 2.3 per cent saturated fats – lifting the costs of butter by 30 per cent and a bag of chips by 8 per cent. In 2010, the country had raised excise taxes on chocolate, ice cream, sugary drinks and candy by 25 per cent.
- Hungary, in 2011, started taxing prepackaged foods high in sugar, salt or caffeine – including carbonated sugary drinks, cookies, jams and instant soups.
- Finland, in 2011, introduced a tax on sweets, chocolates and ice cream, and raised its existing excise tax on soft drinks.
- Belgium, Ireland, Romania, Italy and the United Kingdom have considered similar measures as obesity rates among their citizens surge.