Jamie Oliver, since parting company with Sainsbury’s, has moved on from being the healthy school meals enthusiast to a wider stage according to a report in the Observer this weekend.
Along with nutrition and health experts he is trying to get the UN to take obesity more seriously. He says “Pre-packed convenience food is seen as a symbol of being modern in developing countries but the problems it causes are long-term and costly”.
He called on the UN chief Ban Ki-moon to take action and wants “a global movement to make obesity a human rights issue”.
I can understand world poverty being a human rights issue and something that could be tackled if countries weren’t divided by tribal/caste differences, politics and internal conflict, but since when has over-eating been a human rights issue? I think even Cherie Blair would have difficulty with that.
Former Chief Scientist Sir David King said in the Lancet; “We need to make changes… to avoid the morbid consequences of overweight and obesity… (which) will require global political leadership across public policy …).
King reckons that by 2050 60% of men and 50% of women will be clinically obese and without action it could cost the UK £45 billion a year. The WHO say obesity often sits side by side with under-nutrition (and whose fault is that?) and that 65% of the world’s population live in countries where obesity kills more people than malnutrition.
Oliver says western-style diets cause problems of “bad feeding” which means that we eat highly processed food containing high levels of salt, fats, sugars, additives, and cheap processed meat.
King doesn’t believe that obesity is caused by people being lazy or over-eating. There are several factors being blamed: increased car use; less manual labour; urban living and the availability of cheap, high calorie convenience foods. Most adults in the UK are overweight and every generation is heavier than the last. This what is known as passive obesity.