by Sujatha Nanjundeshwara | 04 APR 2018
These aren’t the measurements of any human figure.
They tell the tale of the stunning rise of obesity in the US. CDC figures show that the number of obese men in America has shot up from about 10% in the 1960s to over 35% in 2014! On a similar note, the number of obese women has grown about 3 fold in the same time span and extremely obese women now comprise over 10% of the female population in the country!
And mind you, they aren’t the only country in the world battling an obesity crisis.
So what is everybody doing about this obesity epidemic?
Chile a high income economy as per a World Bank report in 2012 and with a 25% adult obese population shows the way.
Nutrition labeling is the answer! And no, we aren’t talking of a small table at the back giving percentages and numbers. It’s right up there at the front of the pack.
Consumers are no dieticians but can read these black, stop- Sign warning labels! There are many studies which show that people don’t know how to interpret the numbers pasted on traditional food labels.
But with these “Alto en” or high in salt, sugar, calories and saturated fat are clear and concise and consumer knows exactly what he or she is eating and the risks associated with it.
Are all the countries on board on this issue?
Not really. It’s believed that by renegotiating NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) , US representatives are trying stall implementation policies in US, Mexico & Canada by saying:
Food labeling policies are not “protectionist’! The argument being that US food manufacturers would find it costly and a financial burden who export significantly to Canada & Mexico. Also, that this cost burden would end up getting get passed on to the end consumer as well.
Mexico requires packaged foods to be labeled in Spanish. Canada requires both French & English labels on packaged foods. So having warning front labels would prove to be expensive nor hinder trade.
Industry interests vs consumer interests! The industry views these graphic signs as bad marketing. But in the interests of public health and in the face of the looming overweight, obesity & diabetes crisis such food labeling becomes critical.
In fact, it’s a simple solution. Eat home cooked meals; avoid processed foods high in salt, sugar and fats. In other words, teak your diet today to lead a long, healthy life!
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