Globalisation of obesity: FAO plans to tackle the high prevalence

THERE is a steady growth in the levels of overweight people and obesity all around the world, said the Food and Agriculture Organisation Director.

Jose Graziano da Silva, executive director of FAO made this statement in his opening address during a meeting of the organisation council executives.

To eradicate malnutrition, according to him, thinking only in terms of those suffering weight loss was outdated. He said globally more people are accruing more fat. This, he said has spurred more of obese or overweight people.

Innovating agriculture and promoting nutrition-sensitive food systems top the United Nations and agriculture agency’s to-do list, but during the council’s meeting, its chief said they would not only focus on tackling hunger anymore.

The Council comprises of 49 members stressed the need to focus on all forms of malnutrition.

The FAO chief spelt out that “while hunger is circumscribed to specific areas, obesity is everywhere…we are witnessing the globalisation of obesity”.

    Overweight and obesity, according to WHO, are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation in the body that presents a risk to health. Excessive intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat coupled with less physical activity usually leads to obesity and overweight.

    They may increase the risk of many health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, and some type of cancers including fatty liver cancer.

    The body mass index (BMI) is a way to check whether one is overweight, obesity, underweight or normal. That is, it is used to decide if someone’s weight might be putting one at risk for health problems. The BMI measures the weight in relation to the height such that if the result is less than 18.5 then the person is underweight. The BMI for normal weight is between 18.5 to 24.9. When it is between 25 to 29.9, one is overweight. And people with a BMI of above 30 have reached obesity.

    In Nigeria, according to WHO, the prevalence of overweight among adults, above 18 years, was 28.9 per cent as of 2016. Recent studies have shown that obesity and overweight are becoming more common among Nigerians. A study published on the Sahel Medical Journal indicates that the conditions are higher among the urban residents than the rural people.

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