According to the UN, if the Marlboro Man would have eaten his veggies, he could have lived longer. Ok, not really. A UN expert is out today warning on unhealthy diets and their risk to your overall health. Just how bad is the fast food, sugar laden diet for you? It’s worse than tobacco use.

The World Obesity Federation and Consumers International are calling on the world’s governments to get serious on the obesity epidemic. Without action taken now, the world risks a global health epidemic. Hey, make a carrot taste like a chocolate chip cookie and I’m with you.

How does the World Obesity Federation want governments to act? For one, they want packaging similar to tobacco products. So when you grab that bag of cookies, it will tell you the damage wrought by obesity. I’m pretty sure we realize when we pick up the super sized bag of chips, we aren’t going for the beacon of health.

New rules proposed include reducing salt, saturated fat and sugar levels in foods. Also, hospitals are under the gun. Everyone knows hospital food tastes terrible, and it turns out it’s bad for you too. Obamacare evidently left out the part of having an In-and-Out burger in every facility.

The increase in obesity-related deaths is the reason for the new push behind tighter regulation of the food and beverage industry. In 2005, global deaths due to obesity or being overweight stood at 2.6 million. In 2014, the number is expected to hit 3.4 million. This has prompted global advocacy groups to push for increased controls.

World Health Obesity Federation Chair Dr. Tim Lobstein spoke on the growing epidemic of our rising waistlines. “The global prevalence of obesity – defined as a BMI of more than 30 – doubled between 1980 and 2008, to 10 per cent of all men worldwide, and 14 per cent of all women.”

In terms of numbers, that represents half a billion obese people around the world. The Federation pointed out the double standard when it comes to obesity from lawmakers. If this was an infectious disease, billions would have already been spent to eradicate it. With Food and beverage lobbies entrenched in capitals around the world, lawmakers are reticent to take on a problem. Some lawmakers say it is a personal choice to over-consume.

So, what will come of the new push? Hopefully better awareness among consumers. Already you see food quality becoming the new dollar menu in western societies. Hopefully that translates into food that is less likely to increase the already epidemic scale of obesity.

So food packages need the warning labels on them? Probably, but in the current political climate, it is unlikely to happen. It will be up to the consumers to force the change on the manufacturers. Grass roots will win this fight, not the halls of government.

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