Health: Obesity spreads round the world

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Obesity has become so widespread it should be considered a worldwide pandemic, experts claimed today.

Researchers from Australia and New Zealand said a new approach was needed to tackle the problem.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, they said one estimate suggested the average adult Australian had grown heavier by one gram a day over the past decade, despite increased awareness of the dangers. According to the Royal College of Physicians, the number of adults in England who qualified as being obese doubled from 1980 to 1994. Obesity is linked to a range of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. The researchers wrote: "Obesity presents us with two challenges, to treat people who are currently obese and to prevent obesity in people who are lean. Neither of these challenges are currently being met."