French 2020 obesity levels could match US

27th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 27 (AFP) - France could match US levels of obesity by 2020, a new parliamentary report has warned, urging the government to act before the nation's steady overweight gain becomes a "social curse".

PARIS, April 27 (AFP) - France could match US levels of obesity by 2020, a new parliamentary report has warned, urging the government to act before the nation's steady overweight gain becomes a "social curse".

The report warns that France could join the ranks of the United States and Britain in their battles against a "chronic disease reversible only with great difficulty".

Obesity in France, which affected only six percent of the population in 1990, concerned 11.3 percent in 2003, said the report, written by Senator Claude Saunier.

"For the past six years, it has been gaining by 17 percent annually. At this rhythm, our country should arrive at the US obesity level around 2020, which would bring about an annual cost of 14 billion euros (16.6 billion dollars) for public health insurance alone," it said.

"We are therefore confronted with a social curse - and we know for certain that it will be cause of a health disaster and a health cost explosion," Saunier warned.

The lawmaker's report recommends launching a national agency to lead the anti-obesity fight, which could be funded through a tax on foods that exceed certain limits in terms of calories or fat content.

France, known more for its envy-stoking paradox of thin people and rich foods, has long resisted the radical trend in Anglo-Saxon countries toward overweight.

Morbid obesity is medically defined by a calculation of the ratio of body height to mass, known as the body mass index (BMI), but was also commonly defined as being roughly 45 kilograms (100 pounds) above normal body weight for a person of average height.

Over 60 percent of Americans are either overweight or suffer from morbid obesity, and obesity-related type-2 diabetes has become a global scourge, fueled in large part by the rise of sedentary lifestyles, high-fat convenience diets and round-the-clock snacking.

"The curse (of obesity) is not an insurmountable fatality," Saunier said, but urged France to commit to a large-scale national strategy with public funds to fight the trend.

His conclusions, which were approved by a special parliamentary panel on science and technology, stress the need for further sociological study and focus on French attitudes and behavior toward food.

Food advertising could also be regulated to encourage better eating habits and taxes could be increased on the most health-damaging food products, the report said.

© AFP

                                                               Subject: French news

 

0 Comments To This Article