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Centre for Science and Environment Session 6 Obesity: why our problem? Briefing workshop August 4-5, 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Centre for Science and Environment Session 6 Obesity: why our problem? Briefing workshop August 4-5, 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Centre for Science and Environment Session 6 Obesity: why our problem? Briefing workshop August 4-5, 2004

2 Centre for Science and Environment Profits in “bad health” WHO meeting in Geneva, May 2004: Global strategy on ‘diet, physical activity and health’. Obesity growing. Diabetes, hypertension, heart..weak bones..called NCDs. India..top country affected by diabetes.. Cost of healthcare expensive.

3 Centre for Science and Environment WHO wants governments to take charge.. Indicts bad food. Wants sugar to be restricted to 10% of daily diet. Wants governments to stop giving incentives to unhealthy food.. Wants industry to limit levels of saturated fat..sugar in products.

4 Centre for Science and Environment Bad food Bad food-lifestyle indicted. Research done to show how sugar-fat rich food is responsible for obesity related diseases.. WHO says: high and increasing consumption of sugar sweetened drinks by children is serious concern. Each additional can each day increases risks of becoming obese by 60 per cent…

5 Centre for Science and Environment “Persuading” children WHO says food advertising targetting children must be restricted. Fast food-beverages classified as ‘eat least’ in dietary guidelines are heavily marketed. In 1997 manufacturers spent US$ 11 billion on “eat least” category. Advertising influences food choices and dietary habits.

6 Centre for Science and Environment “I’m loving it”.. UK proposing to ban fast food makers from advertising their products during children’s TV. House of Commons report says obesity in UK risen by 400 per cent in 25 years. Asks companies to “voluntarily” withdraw advertising in 3 years. Country also considering tax on fatty food. Blair says this will be “signal to society”, to make right choice..

7 Centre for Science and Environment Persuaders…. Some governments prohibit advertising before and after children’s programmes….. Even in US, some schools now objecting to “pouring rights” with soft drink companies to get funds. Some US$ 200 million in revenues to schools in which vending machines put up in schools for drinks. Competing with water fountains. For every dollar spent on nutrition education, food industry spends US$ 5000 on advertising says World Bank.

8 Centre for Science and Environment Take caffeine in India? Globally caffeine only permitted in ‘cola dinks’ (China, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Holland, Spain etc.). Allowed till 150 mg/l. Or caffeine-free versions of sold. Or strong health advisory given so that people ask for caffeine-free versions. PFA makes no such distinction. Allows 200 mg/l in all. Result: In India, caffeine added even in non-cola drinks like PepsiCo’s ‘Mountain Dew’. Harmful for children, pregnant and lactating women. Caffeine is addictive. We cannot allow caffeine in non-cola. Reduce caffeine content to 150 mg/l in cola drinks.

9 Centre for Science and Environment Labelling..weak laws. We also need clear warning labels if caffeine added. Labels needed in regional languages. Should say: health advisory: “The beverage is not recommended for: Children Pregnant or lactating women Individuals sensitive to caffeine” What about other food? Industry will take advantage of weak laws. Be clear..

10 Centre for Science and Environment US government does not agree.. Industry lobby powerful. Uses US government to fight its cause. Says report “unscientific”. But US itself says sugar: 8 per cent of diet..working on national strategies. But same global strategy would hurt its industry..Coca-Cola 70% profits from outside US..McDonalds… Indian government has no position..

11 Centre for Science and Environment Why should we care? We have diseases of poor – malnutrition etc.. But also diseases of rich. Putting burden on health care systems. WHO says…number of people with diabetes will increases – from 84 million in 1995 to 228 million in per cent in developing countries..

12 Centre for Science and Environment What happened? Health Assembly 2004: Huge lobby. Huge pressure from industries. Strategy diluted. Says appropriate levels intake of energy, nutrients, foods…including sugar…to be determined. We are left to the mercy of food industry and corporations in the name of Free Choice. But is this the “right choice”…Baby?


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