Food for thought

BELIEVE it or not, the world has more overweight people than hungry ones. And, the obese population is rapidly increasing. The number of over-nourished people has crossed one billion, whereas the undernourished number is estimated at 800 million, out of a total global population of 6.5 billion. That means every sixth person on this planet is fat.

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Published: Wed 16 Aug 2006, 9:44 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:58 PM

Experts revealed these startling facts at a convention of the International Association of Agricultural Economists in Australia. If anybody is wondering what the relation between fat and farm is, here is the answer to the riddle: tax the food items with a high calorific value and subsidise those that give the human body all nutrients except extra pounds of cellulite. In reality, what it means is manipulate the food prices to switch people’s options towards a healthier diet.

The suggestion may sound crazy. But that’s one idea being toyed with to combat the weighty problem that has assumed alarming proportions. A few years ago, rich people were known as fat cats, physically and financially. Though the saying still holds good as far as people in wealthy countries are concerned, large sections of the populace in the new emerging economic powers from Asia to Latin America are adding weight to their bodies. If economic prosperity is measured in terms of their girth, surely they are developing. But they are creating health problems for themselves and burdening their national health services.

Already, obesity is a national problem for the US, Australia and some European countries. Not lagging behind them are China and India, which are also experiencing weight problems. Both countries, with one billion plus populations each, have a sizable number of obese people and experts there are sounding warning bells about health risks. Everybody knows there are no miracle cures for reducing weight —at least for now. A simple and healthy lifestyle is all that is required to stay trim. That’s good for the people and the nations.

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