Obesity and diabetes the new killers amongst the young

Fewer people are dying from stroke and heart attacks than before, but rising levels of obesity and diabetes, particularly among younger people, are going to push mortality rates higher, according to a new OECD report. Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes: Policies for Better Health and Quality of Care points out that although there has been a 60% drop in mortality rates in the last 50 years in OECD countries from cardiovascular disease (CVD) it still remains the leading cause of death.

Currently around 85 million people in OECD countries have diabetes, which represents around 7% of people aged 20-79 years, and this number is projected to reach 108 million by 2030 – a 27% increase. Obesity is also rising, affecting one in five people in the OECD. Amongst other things, the report recommends that countries should:

  • Do more to promote healthier lifestyles. Anti-smoking policies, initiatives to reduce salt consumption and combat obesity have all been shown to be effective
  • Ensure primary care is financially accessible to everyone and the gap between recommended care and care provided in practice is closed.
  • Improve accountability and transparency of primary care performance.
  • Establish a national framework to improve the quality of acute care and reduce regional     variations within countries.
  • Ensure reforms involve every single aspect of the health system, from policies and prevention to primary care, emergency care, acute care and rehabilitation, as the complexity of treating CVD and diabetes means that the chain of care is only as strong as its weakest link.

To read the full report, click here on www.oecd.org

WHO helps reduce the marketing to children of foods

Unhealthy diets are a leading factor affecting health and well-being in every European country, with rising overweight and obesity among children of particular concern as it affects up to 27% of 13-year-olds and 33% of 11-year-olds. The leading categories of advertised foods are soft drinks, sweetened breakfast cereals, biscuits, confectionery, snack foods, ready meals and fast food. Brand recognition starts in early childhood and children who recognize multiple brands by the age of 4 years are more likely to eat unhealthily and be overweight.

Research has demonstrated that overweight children in particular respond to the presence of branded food packaging by increasing their consumption. Marketing of foods high in energy, fats, sugars or salt has a documented harmful impact on children as it promotes the development of unhealthy food preferences and diets, and childhood obesity, thus contributing to the later development of diet-related non-communicable diseases. Yet across Europe, children are still regularly exposed to marketing that promotes foods and drinks high in energy, saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars or salt.

Despite progress in some countries, it can be difficult for governments to identify foods whose marketing should be restricted, so WHO has developed a nutrient profile model for countries to adapt and use to classify foods according to their nutritional composition. Policy-makers across the Region will be able to use this tool to determine whether or not a food product should be marketed to children. The WHO model is largely based on the Danish and Norwegian models, which are used to restrict food marketing to children and countries can either use the model as it is, or adapt it to their own cultural circumstances. It can be used in two ways:

  • to identify foods not to be marketed to children
  • to monitor the extent and nature of food marketing.

For more information on the WHO nutrient profile model, click here   on www.euro.who.int

For more information on the European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2020, click here on www.euro.who.int

A tax on ill health

Several countries in the WHO European Region have recently introduced health-related taxes or subsidies on specific foods and/or nutrients to positively influence dietary intake and health outcomes. This new publication provides information on the use of price policies to promote healthy diets and summarizes recent policy developments from different parts of the Region.

To read more, click here on http://feedproxy.google.com

Wearing your health on your sleeve

Mayo Clinic, in America, has partnered with a maker of disposable, wearable biosensors to develop a wearable wireless sensor for treatment of obesity and diabetes. It will communicate via a closed-loop diabetes management system, and will allow researchers to monitor movement and develop treatments for obesity and related conditions.

For more information, click here on www.virtualpressoffice.com