Wednesday, April 23 2008 @ 09:25 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
Article By: Lawrence Bartlett -
The silent killer
"While we've been focusing so much attention on that, we've had this silent epidemic of obesity that's killing millions of people around the world, and we're devoting very little attention to it and a negligible amount of money."
An estimated 388 million people will die from chronic disease worldwide over the next 10 years, according to World Health Organisation figures quoted by the alliance.
"There's a political paralysis in dealing with the issue," said Gostin, an adviser to the US government and a professor at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins universities.
Not on the agenda
He noted that prevention of obesity and its effects had hardly rated a mention in the current campaign for the US presidency.
"Yet the human costs are frightening when we consider that obesity could shorten the average lifespan of an entire generation, resulting in the first reversal in life expectancy since data collecting began in 1900," he said.
Like terrorism, some passing health threats get major government attention and media coverage, while heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer account for 60 percent of the world's deaths, the meeting was told.
Lifestyles making us sick
"The way we live now is making us sick, it's making our planet sick and it's not sustainable," said Asia-Pacific co-director Ruth Colagiuri.
The Sydney resolution focuses on four key areas, including the need to make towns and cities healthier places in which to live by urban design which promotes walking and cycling and reduces carbon emissions from motor vehicles.
Insufficient physical exercise is a risk factor in many chronic diseases and is estimated to cause 1.9 million deaths worldwide each year, said Tony Capon, professor of health studies at Australia's Macquarie University.
"We need to build the physical activity back into our lives and it's not simply about bike paths, it's about developing an urban habitat that enables people to live healthy lives: ensuring that people can meet most of their daily needs within walking and cycling distance of where they live," he said.
The resolution also calls for a reduction in sugar, fat and salt content in food, making fresh food affordable and available and increasing global efforts to stop people smoking.