An Enemy Called Obesity | OP-ED
At least 100 thousand people died from diabetes in 2021, in a country with at least 34 million diabetics.
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The most recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that around 2,200 million people suffer from obesity and excess weight. It is discouraging news if we take into account that at least 8 million people die from nutrition-related factors.
In the United States, at least 100 million people are obese, just like 20% of children (16 million) and 34% of Hispanic adults. It is not just data, but a serious public health problem, associated with heart problems and diseases like diabetes.
There are 450 million diabetics, according to WHO. In the United States, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 34 million people affected, that, without taking into account that 88 million people older than 18 years old are prediabetic, that is more than 34% of the adult population in the country. Last year, about 100 thousand people died, and the number may continue to grow.
This is the situation, what is the solution?
The problem has grown to such dimensions that the National Clinical Care Commission, created by the Congress, has recommended integral actions to prevent the increase of people with diabetes type 2, which is the most common type.
This solution encompasses breaking with sedentarism and promoting healthy eating habits. WHO itself has advised to take measures against sugary drinks and ultra-processed foods. Even countries like Chile and Peru have taken measures to inform consumers about the health risks those products have on our health. Prohibiting advertisements on TV and selling them in schools has also been recommended.
It sounds easy, but there is a powerful industry behind that does whatever it takes to evade State regulations. It occurs, for example, in Colombia, where it took many years before a bill was passed that mandated that the packaging on these products show they are harmful to health. Until now, it is only a norm because the government has not decided yet (or it has not wanted to) how to enforce it.
Another obstacle is poverty itself. Ultra-processed foods and sugary drinks alleviate hunger at a low cost. The road is harder for this population.