In the first analysis that used fast food purchase data and food deregulation statistics, researchers from the World Health Organization claim that governments can stem the world’s obesity epidemic through economic measures in the Feb. 2, 2014, Bulletin of the World Health Organization.
The researchers looked at data from the world’s top 25 economies and found that fast food transactions increased by 23 percent between 1999 and 2008. Caloric intake was found to average 3,437 calories per person while the recommended number of calories per day is between 2,000 and 2,500.
The researchers noted that the countries that have the most stringent economic controls on fast food had the lowest rates of increase in fast food purchases. The expectation is that growing economies in less developed countries will inherit the obesity epidemic as the economy rises without corrective action by all world governments.
The World Health Organization recommends cutting subsidies to growers involved in the fast food industry, regulating the number of fast food outlets that can exist in a given area, curtailing fast food advertising that is directed at children, and limiting exports of products used in the production of fast food.
While the United States has agreed to the proposals made by the World Health Organization, one might consider this to be a fruitless gesture in light of the 20 million dollars that agribusiness has spent lobbying federal legislators in 2013 and 2014.