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Learning English - Words in the News
20 February, 2008 - Published 12:25 GMT
Obesity epidemic
Overweight couple
'We need political leadership to stop making the world fat'

The world needs to tackle the growing epidemic of obesity with the same sense of global urgency as climate change. The head of the international obesity taskforce, Professor Philip James, said that we needed greater political leadership at the international level. This report from Matt McGrath:

Listen to the story

The scale of the obesity epidemic is such that the world needs a global pact on the best ways to tackle it. At present, according to Professor Philip James, an expert on nutrition, obese children outnumber the malnourished by two to one. This worldwide weight gain is sparking a marked rise in some diseases - the number of people with type two diabetes is expected to double to 366 million by 2030.

According to Professor James, there is no point in blaming individuals for being overweight - we need real political leadership to change the environment that is rapidly making the world fat. The fat content of food needs to be labelled clearly, advertisers must be prevented from targeting children and governments must encourage people to get out of their cars.

Professor James also said that new data from Scandinavia indicates that the weight of a child at the age of 7 to12 predicts whether or not they are going to die early from heart disease or other problems.

Matt McGrath, BBC News, Boston, Massachusetts

Listen to the words

obesity epidemic
fatness problem that seriously affects a lot of people at the same time

a global pact
an agreement by all the governments in the world

scientific study of food

obese children outnumber the malnourished by two to one
for every one child who doesn't have enough to eat in the world, there are two fat ones

sparking a marked rise
making a sharp increase happen

a disease in which the body cannot control the level of sugar in the blood

there is no point in blaming individuals
it is useless saying that people are at fault or are responsible for

labelled clearly
written in plain, simple clear language

to get out of their cars
to use their cars less (for example, to walk or cycle more)

predicts whether or not
tells if in the future something will happen or not

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