Obesity is a condition where the body accumulates excess fat, which has a negative impact on health. Genetics, overeating and certain psychological factors are some common causes of obesity. It is no longer a concern that the west is grappling with. It has found its way onto Indian shores and it is a battle that many of us face today. If you are suffering from obesity or issues related to excessive body mass index (BMI), then blame it on your sedentary lifestyle and reduction in regular physical exercises, the United Nations has said in a report.
The United Nations's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), in a report issued on the occasion of the World Food Day, said eating food high in starch, sugar, fats and salt - combined with a sedentary lifestyle - is a main cause of increased rate of obesity, even in countries where many still suffer from hunger.
Also Read: 13 Effective Tips To Control Obesity
The World Food Day is celebrated on 16th October each year in honour of Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations that was founded on the same day in the year 1945. The World Food Day aims at promoting awareness about food, nutrition and healthy eating practices across the world, and urges people to take action against world hunger and unfair allocation of resources.
The report said that people living in cities or urban towns in recent decades have gradually shifted away from consuming seasonal diets, mainly plant-based and fibre-rich food. Globalisation, urbanisation and growth in income were cited as major reasons behind the diet shift as people find less time to cook at home, and rely mostly on fast-food outlets, street food vendors and takeaway meals due to their busy schedules.
This has led to a situation whereby almost 800 million people are considered to be suffering from obesity, and over 40 million children under five are overweight, the report added. Such unhealthy eating habits have further led to an increase in obesity-related health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and even certain types of cancers.
The health costs of such a sedentary lifestyle are estimated at around USD two trillion per year, the report said.
At the same time, some 821 million people are still suffering from hunger across the world, with numbers increasing over the past three years, and around one in three children are malnourished and not developing properly: in some parts of Africa, hunger has risen by almost 20 per cent, it added.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in a video statement released on Wednesday, underlined the crucial need to transform food systems in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and urged everyone to promote healthy diets that can restore the UN's goal of zero hunger by 2030.
"By promoting healthy living to their citizens, governments can make savings, by cutting food-related health problems; and the private sector can make a difference by reducing the amount of harmful ingredients in their products," he added.
Guterres also noted that the way food is currently consumed and produced has a significant effect on climate change.
The UN chief announced that he hopes to convene a major Food Systems Summit in 2021, as part of the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs.