Financial crisis spurred obesity: OECD

The 2008 financial crisis spurred obesity's spread in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's 34 member countries—most of whose inhabitants are overweight, an OECD report said Tuesday.

The grouping, which includes the world's richest nations, has seen levels continue to rise over the past five years, albeit more slowly than before.

"One in five children is overweight, on average, in OECD countries, but rates are as high as one in three in countries like Greece, Italy, Slovenia and the United States," said a press statement.

The economic crisis was partly to blame, the OECD report said, with less spending on food overall, and a switch to cheaper, high-calorie junk alternatives.

The report noted a 5.6-percent drop in fruit and vegetable consumption for every one-percent rise in unemployment in the United States in the period 2007-09.

Obesity claims a heavy personal and financial toll in terms of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Severely obese people die eight to ten years earlier than those of normal weight—a similar rate to smokers.

And obesity is estimated to gobble up one to three percent of total health expenditure in most countries—as much as five to 10 percent in the United States.

The findings are to be presented Wednesday at the European Congress on Obesity in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The said were stable in England, Italy and the United States but have increased two to three percent in Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, Spain and Switzerland.

Obesity is defined by the World Health Organisation as a (weight in kilogrammes divided by the square of one's height in metres) of 30 and above.

The UN's health agency attributes 3.4 million adult deaths per year to being overweight or obese.

Until 1980, fewer than one in ten people in the OECD were obese, compared to 18 percent of the adult population now—one in three adults in Mexico, New Zealand and the United States and more than one in four in Australia, Canada, Chile and Hungary, said the document.

Rates in Asian countries were two to four percent among adults.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Number of fat people in US to grow, report says

Sep 23, 2010

(AP) -- Citizens of the world's richest countries are getting fatter and fatter and the United States is leading the charge, an organization of leading economies said Thursday in its first ever obesity forecast.

Recommended for you

Targeting the brain to treat obesity

18 hours ago

Unlocking the secrets to better treating the pernicious disorders of obesity and dementia reside in the brain, according to a paper from American University's Center for Behavioral Neuroscience. In the paper, researchers ...

Parents rank their obese children as 'very healthy'

Jul 21, 2014

A University of California, San Diego School of Medicine-led study suggests that parents of obese children often do not recognize the potentially serious health consequences of childhood weight gain or the importance of daily ...

User comments