• La Vitalista Ibai: leave junk food now

20% of the world's population is obese, a pathology that claims the lives of 1.2 million Europeans every year, as revealed by the 'Regional Report on Obesity', presented in 2022 by the World Health Organization.

The study also pointed out that one in three school-age children, one in four adolescents and almost 60% of the adult population in Europe is overweight or obese.

To find the origin of this pandemic it is not necessary to look far back, as Manel Puig Domingo, professor and head of the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service at the Germans Trias i Pujol and Research Institute (IGTP) Hospital in Barcelona, told me in an interview. "It starts in the 80s, when additives begin to be added to foods and fast food proliferates, a culture that exploded in the United States. If we go to a place where, for $ 10, they offer an 'all you can eat' (everything you can eat), things do not go well. And if, on top of that, the meals have a high fat content and are accompanied by sweetened drinks, the issue becomes even more complicated."

And the problem with all this is that, now, going back is increasingly complicated, as Puig Domingo also explained to me. "In addition to all the power of the food industry and the money it drags, there is an indisputable phenomenon: very fatty foods cause a hormonal storm so pleasant in our senses that we can not stop eating them. There is a phenomenon of repetition of intake, something that, for example, does not happen to us when we have an apple."

And the most disheartening of all is how this global epidemic is targeting the little ones: "It has gone from less than 3% of obese children in the 90s of the last century to more than 10% today. Which is tremendously worrying if you take into account that an obese child will be a sick adult, "says Dr. Puig Domingo.

"Getting children and adolescents to grow up in a healthy way means making it easier for these environments to promote healthy lifestyles: an active life, healthy eating, emotional well-being and good rest habits. To ensure that this happens, it is necessary to strengthen public services, protect their health and encourage cultural change to make these lifestyles desirable and enjoyable. In this mission, we must all work together: families, teachers, health workers, companies, media, third sector entities, public administrations at all levels and, of course, children and adolescents themselves", proclaims the 'National Strategic Plan for the Reduction of Childhood Obesity' (2022 - 2030), coordinated by the High Commissioner against Child Poverty with the Gasol Foundation as a key ally.

To this mission, which right now seems almost impossible, we should each give ourselves to the extent of our possibilities and with our 'humble' capacity for arrival. Because this is not a matter of phobias, but of public health.

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  • United States
  • Barcelona
  • Europe
  • Obesity