New research raises questions on obesity prevention
Press Release by World Health Organisation at 4:32 pm, 30 May 2008
Rice, Lettuce and Mung beans could be the long ignored drivers of the obesity epidemic in the Western world, according to a research paper presented to a meeting of Health Ministers at a WHO forum in Geneva this week.
Speaking at the World Health Organisation forum, Professor B. Reasel of the University of Queensland said the study should spark a new debate on the causes of obesity. He said pies and fast food had often been targeted ahead of the real culprits, rice, lettuce and mung beans.
“64% of obese people surveyed claimed their diet did not include pies, deep fried food or other ‘unhealthy’ food. In fact, a large proportion of these people claimed they ate little more than rice, lettuce and mung beans.
The research came after anecdotal reports of a growing obesity epidemic in areas of sub-Saharan Africa supplied with rice and other grains by international aid agencies.
“The surveys we conducted in Africa had some shocking findings. Large groups of African children living in extreme poverty and eating little more than a cup of Red Cross supplied rice a day were reporting BMIs of up to 60.
“Of course diet is only one part of it – most obese people have their genes to blame – but the destructive impact of rice consumption needs to be reined in. The Government can do little to help those who have caught airborne strains of obesity but restricting access to this monster crop will help.
“The research has been welcomed by many in the obese community.
“45% of people surveyed blamed their obesity on bad genes but a clear majority – 54% – claimed they had ‘no idea’ why they were obese. This research can go some way to explain why these people aren’t responsible for their weight.
The research surveyed 1,000 people between January and March. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.
For the research findings on public perceptions towards obesity, visit www.uqld.ac.au/research/08/06/164892.html