Food & Nutrition
Iron Chef Competition
WHO - Obesity and Overweight
Globally, there are more than
overweight adults, at least
of them are obese.
Obesity is a major contributor to the global burden of
What are factors which have led to obesity rates rising three-fold or more since 1980?
Increased consumption of more energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods with higher levels of sugar and saturated fats combined with reduced physical activity
What countries have been mentioned in these rates? Are they just industrialized countries?
North America (Canada and the US), United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, Middle East and the Pacific Islands, Australasia and China
Not restricted to industrialized societies; increase is often faster in developing countries
What chronic diseases are associated with obesity and being overweight?
Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, certain forms of cancer
Why is this happening?
Profound change in society and behavioural patterns
Genetics (some more susceptible to weight gain, energy balance is key)
Economic growth, modernization, urbanization and globalization of food markets
What tends to happen when people make more money and become more urban? How does this lead to more obesity? Provide an example.
Diets high in complex carbohydrates give way to diets with higher proportion of fats, saturate fats and sugar
Large shifts towards less physically demanding work
Less physical activity due to automated transportation, technology in the home, more passive leisure pursuits
Example: Video games take place of sports activities
How is obesity assessed or calculated? What is the BMI of someone who is considered overweight?
BMI (Body Mass Index) = weight in kg/square of height in metres (kg/㎡)
BMI over 25 kg/m2 = overweight
BMI over 30 kg/m2 = obese
How many children under 5 are estimated to be overweight worldwide? What rates are the US Surgeon General giving for overweight children?
17.6 million children under 5 are estimated to be overweight worldwide
In the USA, the number of overweight children has doubled; the number of overweight teenagers has tripled
Obese children ages 6-11 has more than doubled
Obesity prevalence in youth ages 12 - 17 has increased from 5% to 9% in girls
What are the percentages of total health care costs that obesity is believed to account for? Is this a true picture?
Obesity accounts for 2-6% of total health care costs in developed countries, some as high as 7%
No, not a true picture. Costs are likely much higher as not all obesity-related conditions are included in calculations.
How does excess body fat impact health?
Adverse metabolic effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin resistance
Non-fatal but debilitating health problems include respiratory difficulties, chronic musculoskeletal problems, skin problems and infertility
Life threatening problems in four main areas: cardiovascular problems, conditions associated with insulin resistance (such as type 2 diabetes), certain types of cancers and gallbladder disease
High BMI also increases risk of breast, colon, prostrate, endometrium and key cancers
Contributes to osteoarthritis - a major cause of disability in adults
What can we do about it?
Promote healthy behaviours to encourage, motivate and enable weight loss
Public policies that promote availability and accessibility of a variety of low-fat, high-fibre foods and provide opportunity for physical activity
"WHO: Obesity and Overweight" (2003).
World Health Organization
Retrieved December 9, 2011 from