Obesity is a growing global health problem that has received increasing attention in recent years. It has been estimated that over 700 million people in the world are classified as obese. In the UK, the obese population has more than triple in the last 25 years. Obesity has been identified as an escalating global epidemic health problem and is found to be associated with many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Although there is well-publicised guidance on recommended daily calories intake, very seldom people will comply with such guideline as recording of calorie intake is time consuming and inaccurate, as methods for dietary and daily activity assessments mostly rely on questionnaires or self-reporting.
The two states of malnutrition (under and over nutrition) account for a large percentage of non-communicable diseases worldwide. 65% of the world’s population live in countries where being overweight and obesity kills more people than those who are underweight. Obesity, the result of over nutrition, is no longer the preserve of high income countries with the prevalence of obesity now rising in low and middle income countries.
By Michael J. Taylor, Honorary Research Associate, Division of Surgery, Imperial College London
Weight management camps can provide an effective way for obese children to lose weight. Although many attendees successfully maintain their new healthier weight after leaving the camp, there are also some who regain the weight they lost after they go back home. Imperial College London, in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University and Qatar University, have been carrying out a project investigating how weekly educational after-school clubs can be used to encourage children to continue to work towards reaching and maintaining a healthy weight after they have attended a weight management camp.
By Alice Marks, Agriculture for Impact, Imperial College London
As we celebrate Africa Day 2016, it’s time to reflect on the state of nutrition in Africa and the weighty effect malnutrition has on the continent’s ability to prosper. Progress has been made over the past decades, for example through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to reduce extreme hunger and starvation. However, it is the quality of food that people consume and a lack of variety that is of increasing concern. A few weeks ago, Roger Thurow, a Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, released a new book, The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children—And the World.
By Saba Fatima Mirza, Institute of Global Health Innovation to mark World Food Day 2015
When we talk about food, we must talk about its abundance and scarcity.
According to a recent United Nations report, about one-third of the world’s food, a shocking 1.3 billion tonnes, is thrown away each year. While some of this waste is a spinoff of the production phase of the food cycle, a higher portion of food is wasted at the consumption stage in high-income countries. This has to do with a combination of dietary habits and consumer behaviour.
By Francis Peel from Imperial’s Partnership for Child Development.
To celebrate International School Meals Day on the 5th March, schools from around the world share their experiences of school meals. It’s a fun way for school kids to learn what’s on their plates and on what children the other side of the world will be eating.
However given the depressing regularity of nutritional bad news focusing on obesity or malnutrition perhaps policy makers should be just as excited by school meals and the wider school health and nutrition movement which can provide countries with the tools to tackle this problem.
In fact, school feeding and school health programmes are present in almost every country in the world – low, middle and high income alike.