A new report from more than 19 leading scientists published in the Lancet today has revealed the growing and dramatic global impact of obesity – now affecting even the world’s poorest countries.
The report, co-authored by VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio in collaboration with the World Health Organization, shows the saturation of sugary drinks and unhealthy food is now a global issue, with obesity a concern across all geographies – even in countries still struggling with hunger.
Dr Demaio said the report revealed the terrible cost highly processed, unhealthy food has on children’s health at home and around the world.
“It’s extremely concerning that sugary drinks and highly processed foods now reach all corners of the world – there is no country untouched by this health crisis and its linked burden of chronic disease,” he said.
“It’s unethical that food and drink companies have been given a free pass to market their unhealthy products to some of the most vulnerable children from the poorest communities around the world.
“At home in Australia we’re seeing a similar impact, with children from disadvantaged communities almost twice as likely to be above a healthy weight and poorer postcodes now home to 2.5-times as many unhealthy food outlets.
“We need to restrict marketing of unhealthy food and drinks to kids – particularly the most vulnerable.
“We also need to make it easier and more affordable for families to access and eat fresh, healthy food. We want to see places frequented by kids and families – like schools, sport and recreation facilities and shopping centres provide healthier food and drink options.
“The size of your bank balance shouldn’t determine your life expectancy or your health. It’s time we step up to the plate and protect vulnerable kids from a globalised food industry more interested in profits than our health.”
Rachel Murphy, VicHealth Principal Media Advisor on 03 9667 1319, 0435 761 732 or [email protected]