Chapter 14: Obesity, sustainability and public health
In the individual, obesity is a risk factor for numerous health problems, including hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems (asthma), musculoskeletal disease (arthritis), infertility and certain forms of cancer, including leukaemia, breast and colon cancer (OECD 2012). The tremendous increase in overweight and obesity worldwide, however, shifts the challenge from being simply a matter of individual risk factors to a major public health concern across the globe. In fact, since 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified obesity as a disease whose consequences have a lasting impact on communities, nations and individuals not only today but across future generations. Obesity therefore is anything but sustainable.
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