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Sustainable Food Guide
Environmental Practice at Work © 2005 Link:EP@W Ltd Web Site
 Nutrition Issues...

According to the World Health Organisation, almost all countries are experiencing an obesity epidemic, called "globesity". Obesity and starvation are now found alongside each other. In developed countries, obesity is not only common in the middle-aged, but is becoming ever more common among younger adults and children. In 1995, there were 200 million obese adults worldwide , which has increased to over 300 million. The obesity epidemic is not restricted to industrialized societies; in developing countries, over 115 million people suffer from obesity-related problems. In low-income countries, obesity is more common in middle-aged women, people of higher socioeconomic status and those living in urban communities. Latest figures from WHO

The British Heart Foundation state that in the UK 17% of men and 21% of women are obese, whilst a total of 46% men and 32% women are overweight.
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Worldwide, the number of cases of diabetes is currently estimated to be around 150 million. This number is predicted to double by 2025. Type 2 diabetes has recently escalated in all age groups and is now being identified in younger and younger age groups, including children. In all societies, overweight and obesity are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Over the last 50 yrs, there has been an increased consumption of energy-dense diets high in fat, particularly saturated fat, and low in unrefined carbohydrates. These patterns are combined with a decline in energy expenditure. Because of these changes, chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and some types of cancer, are becoming increasingly significant causes of disability and premature death.

Salt is also a hidden killer, many people are unaware of the effect of high salt intake which has increased to nearly twice the recommended daily level since the 1980s. Adult men eating around a teaspoon of salt more each day, and women half a teaspoon more, than the recommended amount. High levels of salt in food leads to high blood pressure, suffered by over a third of all adults and heart disease - one of the UK's biggest killers. Three quarters of salt intake comes from processed foods, like ready meals.

Trans fats are produced when vegetable oils are heated, as when they are 'hydrogenated' to make margarine. These trans fats appear to increase the risk of heart attack more than saturated animal fats.

It is clear that improving diet can have a dramatic improvement on the incidence of these noncommunicable diseases. This is becoming a major public health issue. And what is being done about it?


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