Climate change, obesity, malnutrition: How ‘big food’ curb may solve world’s 3 key problems

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Updated: Jan 28, 2019 5:40 PM

The growing influence of ‘big food’ needs to be curbed globally if the problems of obesity, malnutrition and climate change are to be tackled in time, a global report said.

Chilli burger-eating contest, burger, delhi, delhi restaurant, junk foodThe ‘global syndemic’ particularly poses significant threat to the health of people and earth in low-and middle-income countries including India, it added. (Representative image – Reuters)

The growing influence of ‘big food’ needs to be curbed globally if the problems of obesity, malnutrition and climate change are to be tackled in time, a global report said. The earlier mentioned are the three key problems that the world is facing at present, The Lancet said in a report. The ‘global syndemic’ particularly poses significant threat to the health of people and earth particularly in low-and middle-income countries including India, it added.

A syndemic is defined as “the presence of two or more disease states that adversely interact with each other”.

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“Until now, undernutrition and obesity have been seen as polar opposites of either too few or too many calories. In reality, they are both driven by the same unhealthy, inequitable food systems, underpinned by the same political economy that is single-focused on economic growth, and ignores the negative health and equity outcomes,” the report said.

“Climate change has the same story of profits and power ignoring the environmental damage caused by current food systems, transportation, urban design and land use,” it noted

Not a single country has reversed the obesity epidemic across the world and powerful corporates driven by profits influence policy that is “at odds with the public good and planetary health,” the report added.

Two of the leading reasons behind premature death include obesity and malnutrition, the report also said. Over 2 billion adults are children are obese worldwide, the research noted. The restricted physical activity outdoors, on account of rising temperatures due to climate change, is driving obesity in various parts of the world. The report also points out that undernutrition in the early life is a predictor for later obesity in various countries.

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