Connect with us

Newsdesk

Tackling obesity would boost economic and social well-being

Newsroom

Published

on

Obesity-related diseases will claim more than 90 million lives in OECD countries in the next 30 years, with life expectancy reduced by nearly 3 years. Obesity and its related conditions also reduce GDP by 3.3% in OECD countries and exact a heavy toll on personal budgets, amounting to USD 360 per capita per year, according to a new OECD report.

The OECD’s The Heavy Burden of Obesity – The Economics of Prevention says that more than half the population is now overweight in 34 out of 36 OECD countries and almost one in four people is obese. Average rates of adult obesity in OECD countries have increased from 21% in 2010 to 24% in 2016, meaning an additional 50 million people are now obese.


Children in particular are paying a high price for obesity. Children who are overweight do less well at school, are more likely to miss school, and, when they grow up, are less likely to complete higher education. They also show lower life satisfaction and are up to three times more likely to be bullied, which in turn may contribute to lower school performance.

Obese adults are at greater risk of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, and reduced life expectancy. In the EU28, women and men in the lowest income group are, respectively, 90% and 50% more likely to be obese, compared to those on the highest incomes, entrenching inequality. Individuals with at least one chronic disease associated with being overweight are 8% less likely to be employed the following year. When they have a job, they are up to 3.4% more likely to be absent or less productive.

“There is an urgent economic and social case to scale up investments to tackle obesity and promote healthy lifestyles,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “These findings clearly illustrate the need for better social, health and education policies that lead to better lives. By investing in prevention, policymakers can halt the rise in obesity for future generations, and benefit economies. There is no more excuse for inaction.”

OECD countries already spend 8.4% of their total health budget on treating obesity-related diseases. This is equivalent to about USD 311 billion or USD 209 per capita per year. Obesity is responsible for 70% of all treatment costs for diabetes, 23% for cardiovascular diseases and 9% for cancers.

New OECD analysis in the report finds that investing in initiatives like better labelling of food in shops or regulating the advertising of unhealthy foods to children can generate major savings. Every dollar invested in preventing obesity would generate an economic return of up to six dollars, according to the report.

Reducing by 20% the calorie content in energy-dense food, such as crisps and confectionery, could avoid more than 1 million cases of chronic disease per year, particularly heart disease. Initiatives targeting the whole population, such as food and menus displaying nutritional information and mass media campaigns, could lead to gains of  between 51,000 to 115,000 life years per year up to 2050 in the 36 countries included in the analysis. This would be equivalent to preventing all road deaths in EU28 and OECD countries respectively. Economic savings would also be significant, with menu labelling alone saving up to USD 13 billion between 2020 and 2050. The report, together with country notes for Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom, are available at http://www.oecd.org/health/the-heavy-burden-of-obesity-67450d67-en.htm.

Continue Reading
Comments

Environment

Making the impossible possible

Newsroom

Published

on

photo: UN Environment

Sitting at a bus stop one day when she was 16, When Miranda Wang saw someone throw a plastic bottle into a trash bin, even though the recycling bin was right next to it.

“It just made me realize that the problem is so much bigger than the behavior of individual people,” she said. “Globally, only 9 per cent of plastics produced are actually recycled. That’s because as a society, we lack recycling technologies that can make virgin-quality products from plastic waste.”

“My project is a social impact startup developing and scaling up a new technology to recycle unrecyclable plastics. Over the past year, the project has snowballed, and we are seeing massive interest in this area,” she said.

Since starting up her company BioCellection, and winning the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Young Champions of the Earth prize in 2018, twenty-five-year-old Wang and her team have invented a US$ 5 million technology that breaks down plastics into chemical building blocks, upcycling them into higher value materials for manufacturing.

The first engineering drawings for the technology scale-up have been completed, and multiple materials from the resulting purified compounds from breaking down plastics have been tested.

The company has already completed two thirds of a pilot programme to test the technology at scale with the City of San José, California, United States, and other tests have already been completed with Google among others.  

The team has expanded, with eight new hires instead of the projected four, winning grants and prizes including the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, Pritzker Environmental Genius Award and MIT Solve.

In addition to refining the recycling technology, Wang has appeared in magazines including TIME, the New York Times, Monocle, Marie Claire, National Geographic and many others over the last 12 months.  

Why not become part of a global movement, and tell us what you are doing to turn the tide on plastic pollution. Take the Clean Seas pledge!

Do you have what it takes to be a Young Champion of the Earth? Stay tuned here to follow stories of previous winners and changemakers.

UN Environment

Continue Reading

Newsdesk

AfDB hosts talks with ICRC on making an impact through collaboration

Newsroom

Published

on

The African Development Bank held talks with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Vice-President Gilles Carbonnier at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan on furthering their shared development goals.

The main purpose of the meeting, held on 20 January, was to discuss collaboration between the institutions and share the progress made since the signing of a Bank-ICRC memorandum of understanding to explore partnership opportunities.

“It is mainly through operation and cooperation that we are going to learn exactly how best to work together to be more relevant, more impactful,” Carbonnier said.

The Bank-ICRC collaboration centers on working in areas of fragility in Africa, with special emphasis on building resilience, particularly among women and girls.

Representatives from the Bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Complex, the Bank’s Transitional States Coordination Office and the Bank’s Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery Complex were present. The talks were facilitated by Catherine Cudré-Mauroux, Bank Executive Director for Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal.

Calling the Bank-ICRC partnership “a natural fit”, the Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Jennifer Blanke, said: “There’s a recognition that if you look at humanitarian work that might be in the same region year after year, you cannot deal with that, without some development element, which we can bring in. From our perspective, there are a lot of places in Africa where we want to be working on development impact.” 

Another area of interest is investing in vulnerable women in the Sahel Region and North Africa.

“We know that we reach higher returns when investing in women. Studies demonstrate that women reinvest most of their income (up to 90%) in providing a social safety net for their families, with a ripple effect on health, education, nutrition and youth empowerment. Investments today will yield tomorrow’s returns,” said Vanessa Moungar, Director for the Bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department.

Moungar’s department spearheads the Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative, which the Bank sees as a key component of improving women’s access to economic resources.

Participants also agreed to focus on internally displaced persons and their host communities.

“The idea is to scale up our work in the field,” said Patricia Danzi, ICRC Regional Director for Africa. “We want to be able to do more than what the Bank or ICRC would have done alone.”

The ICRC and the Bank say future discussions will address technical, legal, financial and field aspects, with an eye toward accelerating the partnership implementation.

Continue Reading

Newsdesk

ILO: Employment policies are key to address the challenge of migration

Newsroom

Published

on

photo: ILO

Employment policies and strategic alliances to seek effective and sustainable solutions are key to address the challenge of international migration, said the ILO during the 12th Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development  that concluded today in the capital of Ecuador.

“Most migration is directly or indirectly related to the world of work, where there are now 164 million migrant workers or 70% of all working age migrants, and nearly half are women”, recalled the ILO Regional Director a.i. for Latin America and the Caribbean, Juan Hunt, speaking Thursday night at the closing plenary session of the Forum.

Hunt stressed that “As we look to the future, we can recognize that International migration is a reflection of global shifts, challenges and transformations, including in technology, in the world of work”.

The meeting in Quito this week brought together some 1300 delegates from 150 countries, international organizations, civil society, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and local authorities, among others. The Global Forum was created in 2007 to facilitate discussion on how to generate better policies for international migration, develop innovative ideas and build partnerships.

“The ILO shares the view that partnerships among Governments, academia, media, mayors and migrants, as well as with world of work actors –business, employers´ and workers organizations and trade unions –are critical in shaping evidence-based dialogue and public perceptions,” said Hunt.

He added that “ILO encourages social dialogue in the development and implementation of labour migration policies. This brings durability and legitimacy to programmes that support decent work.”

The ILO Regional Director reminded the plenary that “decent work deficits, humanitarian issues and other challenges such as climate change exacerbate these situations and will continue to drive migration across the world.”

ILO’s standards are particularly important in this regard as they lay the foundation for achieving decent work for all, including for realizing fundamental rights and freedoms, reducing vulnerability and exploitation, he explained.

“When migration and employment policies are well coordinated, we can make progress in eliminating recruitment fees and costs for migrant workers which reduce their savings and, in worst cases, lead to human trafficking and debt bondage,” he added.

Regarding the meeting in Quito, the ILO Regional Director considered that it has been an intense and rich summit that touched upon many aspects of the migratory phenomenon, included new actors in the discussion such as local authorities.

In his speech, he stressed the importance of countering at the international level “the negative rhetoric surrounding migration” and of increasing “the capacity of response” to the challenges posed by the mobility of large numbers of human beings from one country to another.

“A human-centred approach to the future of work is crucial if we are to continue to meet labour markets needs while also ensuring workers are protected and can fulfil their potential without discrimination or exploitation,” said Hunt.

The ILO delegation to the XII Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Ecuador was headed by the Regional Director and the Director of the ILO Labour Migration Branch, Michelle Leighton.

Continue Reading

Latest

African Renaissance1 hour ago

Harper Lee’s sigh towards God and the signature psychology in her writing of To Kill A Mockingbird

There is blood in our silence, and in our silence the milk and honey, assertion and defiance of language lives...

Science & Technology3 hours ago

Can China electrify all new passenger cars by 2030?

China’s electric vehicle industry is entering a new phase of accelerating development, President Xi Jinping wrote in a congratulatory message...

Americas5 hours ago

Joe Biden in 2020 Copies Hillary Clinton in 2016

The 2016 Iowa Democratic Presidential Caucuses were held on 1 February 2016 and produced 49.84% for Hillary Clinton and 49.59%...

Environment8 hours ago

Making the impossible possible

Sitting at a bus stop one day when she was 16, When Miranda Wang saw someone throw a plastic bottle...

Newsdesk10 hours ago

AfDB hosts talks with ICRC on making an impact through collaboration

The African Development Bank held talks with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Vice-President Gilles Carbonnier at the Bank’s...

New Social Compact12 hours ago

The drive for quality education worldwide, faces ‘mammoth challenges’

Aligning inclusive, quality education with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was centre-stage on Friday, as the President of the UN...

Newsdesk16 hours ago

ILO: Employment policies are key to address the challenge of migration

Employment policies and strategic alliances to seek effective and sustainable solutions are key to address the challenge of international migration,...

Trending