The numbers don’t lie: The prevalence of high-calorie, low-nutritient food coupled with sedentary lifestyles is leading the world down a dangerous path. Worldwide obesity nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008, according to the World Health Organization. As a result, more than half a billion adults worldwide are obese.
To help address this issue, Nutrilite Health Institute President Dr. Sam Rehnborg recently participated in a special conference at the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy. The Healthy Agriculture, Healthy Nutrition, Healthy People conference was a select gathering of thought leaders from across the globe. Experts in public policy, economics, nutrition, medicine and law, along with food and agricultural industry representatives, spent three days wrestling with the issue of global obesity and nutrition. They were striving to understand the obstacles governments face when attempting to implement policies that could lead to optimal diets for their populations.
The conference was organized by Nutrilite Scientific Advisory Board member and pre-eminent Omega-3s expert Artemis Simopoulos and her Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation. Also in attendance was Scientific Advisory Board member Richard Johnson, an expert on the role of fructose in the obesity epidemic, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and hypertension.
Conference members recognized that one way to address global obesity and improve nutriltion worldwide is through sustainable agriculture, an area of expertise for Nutrilite. They also discussed shaping diets based on scientific evidence, economic considerations, regional factors influencing policy change and local initiatives to educate industry.
Perhaps the conference could be more easily characterized as a “think tank,” a gathering of leaders seeking pragmatic solutions that can translate into actual results. The participants will soon publish a white paper presenting their outcomes and policy suggestions. The goal is to help governments address global obesity and the chronic diseases that result from it.
With at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese, it is a goal worth pursuing.