Published on: March 8, 2006A new report published by the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity suggests that the rate of childhood obesity throughout the world will balloon through the rest of the decade. By 2010, according to some estimates, almost half of all the children in North and South America will be overweight, compared to about one-third today; almost 40 percent of European union children will be overweight, compared to about 25 percent today; and childhood obesity rates also are expected to increase in places like China, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Dr. Philip James, chairman of the International Obesity Task Force, lays the blame for the rising obesity rates at the feet of western consumer packaged goods companies, which he suggests have spent billions of dollars trying to get people to eat the wrong way. And he says that because obesity generally follows people from childhood to adulthood, the implications for the world’s health care systems are enormous – and almost none of them are positive. Some say that children may end up having a lower life expectancy than their parents, which would be a stunning reversal of current trends.
- KC's View:
- Almost nothing about this story is funny, but we have to admit to being somewhat amused by the obesity expert who told the Associated Press that “it’s like the plague is in town and no one is interested.”
In fact, everybody seems to be interested – there has been no dearth of coverage of the globesity epidemic. The problem is that as interested and concerned as people seem to be, they seem unable or unwilling to do anything about it. Like eat less and better, and get more exercise.
You may not like it, but our sense of the situation is that calls for a ban on almost all marketing to kids will grow louder and louder. The reality is that the industry cannot absolve people of their personal responsibility for what they put in their kids’ bodies and how much exercise their kids get…but that doesn’t mean that society won’t insist on a certain level of industry culpability.