Obesity is the scourge of the 21st century. Every third Russian is overweight.
Dr. Joao Breda, head of the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, told News World why such statistics are causing serious concern.
For many years, Dr. Joao Breda has been researching obesity, the misfortune of the 21st century. He notes that the situation in the world is only getting worse. Noncommunicable diseases, in particular cardiovascular, oncological, and diabetes, account for 77% of all diseases and 86% of all deaths. Their development can be prevented if exposure to risk factors, including malnutrition, is excluded.
In most countries, 30% of the population is obese and over 60% are overweight. A lot of facts of obesity are recorded in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, where the prevalence of obesity and overweight has tripled since 1980!
Serious figures are also characteristic of the countries of southern Europe. Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal – here high rates of obesity are typical for adolescents. Turkey has a high level of obesity among women. In Israel, overweight in 30% of children and 60% of adults.
Overall figure: in 20% of European countries, and this is the 53 Member States of the WHO, 5 to 10% of obesity is recorded among children's population.
About 320 thousand people die every year due to obesity or overweight in 20 countries of Western Europe.
SIT LESS AND WALK!
The reason for the obesity is simple – we eat a lot, especially junk food, and move a little.
But moving more is not only about jogging or swimming in the pool. It is much more important to consider general physical activity. Now we work more often, all day without getting up from the table, we walk a little.
Dr. Breda advises, if possible, to try to go to work on foot, to move more often during the working day, to refuse harmful products.
The fact that our children began to move very little is a fact. Previously, after school, the streets were filled with noise: the boys played football, the girls jumped. Classics, a skipping rope, catch-ups, bouncers – a variety of sports games were a way of life for schoolchildren.
Now youth hangs in gadgets. “70% of adolescents in European countries move very little, indicators do not correspond to the minimum physical activity recommended by WHO,” the doctor notes.
Unhealthy food ruins us
Children and adults now drink much less water than is required by the norm, while consuming too much sugar.
Dr. Breda emphasizes: you need to try to eat foods high in nutrients, reducing the intake of high-calorie foods, simple sugars, fast food, eat fruits and vegetables every day.
One of the reasons for the lack of physical activity in children and adolescents is constant access to the Internet. In addition, another danger lies in wait here – aggressive marketing of unhealthy foods. An unprotected children's psyche reacts instantly: carbonated drinks and fast food become part of the diet. As the popularity of social networks and mobile devices, where personalized and targeted advertising predominates, the situation is likely to worsen.
The World Health Organization is trying to combat aggressive marketing of harmful food products. It is impossible to prohibit such advertising, but you can influence its use. For example, in the countries of the United Kingdom, the participation of well-known characters in films or cartoons or of well-known persons in the advertising of harmful products (filled with fat, salt or sugars), which is aimed at young children, is prohibited.
In Sweden, the volume of advertising aimed at children’s audience has also been cut, and there is already a result: the Swedes now use very little sugar. In Israel, it was possible to influence producers, and there the salt content in bread, cheese, hummus has already been reduced by 22%.
Ireland is trying to limit the marketing of foods high in saturated fats, salt and free sugars. In Norway, it is forbidden to advertise food on the Internet and social networks for children under 13 years of age. In France, work is underway to prevent healthy nutrition for children in schools.
Now you can find out about the harmful effects of smoking on the body by reading the warning on a pack of cigarettes. The consumer must also be provided with the right to an informed choice of food. It is possible to gradually change the diet of the population to a more useful one, in particular, with the help of product labeling.
Dr. Breda cites Chile as an example: “A label has been adopted here, in which all information about the content of sugar, salt, fat in the product is given on the front side of the product. This helps the buyer immediately get information about the composition of the product and make an informed choice. Well, manufacturers such labeling pushes to change the composition of their products, making them healthier. "
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN BEAUTY AND HEALTH
Unfortunately, Dr. Breda complains, until even doctors pay enough attention to the fullness of patients, not to mention the overweight people themselves. Often, fullness is perceived as an annoying hindrance especially by women who want to lose weight precisely for attractiveness, but without thinking about excess weight in terms of their own health.
“Such a problem exists not only in Russia, but also abroad. We try to teach doctors that overweight should be given to the patient during the initial examination. The doctor should, moreover, delicately, without notations, give the person the motivation to lose weight. To talk about how to do it, how to eat right, how to move more. "
Healthy nutrition, fortunately, is already becoming a fashion trend. “But the problem of obesity remains acute in the world,” says Dr. Breda. “We pin our hopes on the desire of the population for a healthy lifestyle.”