Third World Obesity

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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says obesity levels are rising fast and developing countries should act now to end a growing obesity epidemic that matches that of the developed world.

In a report published in The Lancet medical journal, the OECD suggests that low-income countries will not be able to cope with the health consequences of wide-scale obesity.

Increasing obesity in industrialised countries such as the UK and US has brought with it rises in heart disease, cancer and diabetes. These serious diseases are increasingly arising in younger patients in ever-increasing numbers and it is predicted that many parents will begin to outlive their children.

Increasing prosperity in some developing countries is leading to a rise in so-called "Western" lifestyles, with a significant change in traditional dietary habits and an increase in fast food and sedentary lifestyles.

As many as 50% of adults are overweight or obese across the countries represented in the OECD.

Rates in the Russian Federation less than 50%, and while fewer than 20% of Indians are classified as obese, with fewer than 30% of Chinese people.

The report recommends that these countries act immediately to slow this increase, with media campaigns promoting healthier lifestyles, taxes and subsidies to improve diets, tighter government regulation of food labelling and restrictions on food advertising.

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