…Saudi Arabia tops list
As the 32 finalists are looking forward to doing well in the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, a new report has revealed that the participating countries including Nigeria are faced with obesity crisis.
According to the report based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO), Saudi Arabia secured the unwanted title of being the country in the competition with the highest rate of overweight and obesity.
The data revealed how the 32 finalists are facing an even bigger challenge than the top title in football: the obesity crisis.
According to latest data from the WHO, 70 percent of adults in Saudi Arabia are overweight or obese, more than double that of the lowest ranking World Cup country, Japan.
England has the highest obesity score of the European countries and comes in fourth overall with a staggering 63 percent of adults registering as overweight or obese. Australia (third) and Mexico (second) highlight that obesity has run rampant across the world and urgently needs action.
Reacting to the new report, Chief Executive of the World Obesity Federation, Johanna Ralston,said:“These figures are a wake-up call to all the World Cup finalists. Just because you have qualified for the World Cup doesn’t mean your population as a whole are healthy.”
” Now is the time for bold action on obesity, including the introduction of sugar taxes, which have proven to be effective in a number of countries, including the UK”, Ralston noted.
While experts are expressing worry over the new figures,FIFA had however officially partnered with big soda, big food and big alcohol.
Obesity is a gateway disease to many non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, and is now a problem in rich and poor countries alike.
According to Chair of the WHO Independent High-level Commission on NCDs, Dr. Sania Nishtar, the obesity epidemic is a leading cause of ill-health in countries across the world.
Nishtar cautioned that governments in every one of these World Cup countries must act urgently to stop the crisis.
“It’s important to ensure that all children are able to play sport, enjoy a balanced nutritious diet and not be targeted by health harming advertisements”, she said.
Nishtar revealed that a growing number of countries are adopting measures to tackle obesity, in a sign that governments are waking up to the economic and social damage of this epidemic.
She added: “Although the report of the WHO High level Commission on NCDs fell short of recommending soda taxes, it is nonetheless a measure that is increasingly being used by countries around the world as one of a range of measures to tackle the obesity epidemic.”
Also speaking, Chair of NCD Child, Mychelle Farmer, said: “Tackling obesity doesn’t have to be complicated, and countries which have recognised the scale of the problem and taken measures to fight it have already begun to see positive results. We owe it to the next generation, whether or not they grow up to be football players, to prioritise this global disease.”
Meanwhile, world leaders would later this year meet at the UN General Assembly in New York to discuss an international response to prevent NCDs, many of which have associations with obesity, from killing tens of millions of people across the globe each year.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia began on June 14 and is to end on July 15, with 32 squads from around the globe taking part in football’s most prestigious tournament.