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Obesity Hits Pandemic High

Obesity pandemic engulfing world: experts

Obesity has reached pandemic proportions throughout the world and is now the greatest single contributor to chronic disease, an international conference was told here.

"This insidious, creeping pandemic of obesity is now engulfing the entire world," Australia's Monash University professor Paul Zimmet, chair of the 10th International Congress on Obesity, said on the opening day of the conference.

ImageThe spread of the problem was "led by affluent western nations, whose physical activity and dietary habits are regrettably being adopted by developing nations," Zimmet told more than 2,000 delegates.

The world now has more fat people than hungry ones, according to World Health Organisation figures, with more than a billion overweight people compared to 800 million who are undernourished.

The congress on obesity is held every four years, with the last three staged in Toronto (1994), Paris (1998) and Sao Paulo (2002).

"The conference will treat obesity as the keystone of all health priorities because it is the single greatest contributor to chronic disease throughout the world," said University of Sydney professor Ian Caterson, the event co-chair.

"There are now more overweight people in the world than undernourished and we are seeing the double burden of the extremes of malnutrition -- undernutrition and overnutrition -- in many developing countries.

"We know this is not about gluttony -- it is the interaction of heredity and environment. We know that small changes can make a big difference in peoples weight and health."

Zimmet said the problem needed urgent solutions -- not just widespread changes to diet and exercise but the rethinking of national policies on urban and social planning, agriculture policy, education, transport and other areas.

He also warned in an opening address that the growth of obesity-related diabetes, or so-called "diabesity", was set to bankrupt health budgets all over the world.

Around 370 speakers and presenters at the six-day congress will discuss a range of issues, including scientific research on how the brain regulates energy and advances in the prevention and clinical management of obesity.

The conference is being attended by academics and health professionals from Australia, Japan, the United States, Britain, Canada, Sweden, Indonesia and New Zealand.

Source Breitbart.com

Last Updated ( Sep 04, 2006 at 04:51 AM )