France and the war against childhood obesity

France has launched the fight against childhood and youth obesity. The French Parliament yesterday approved a battery of measures to stop overweight in this population, including a rule that prohibits machines distributors of beverages and candy in schools and colleges. One in 10 French 10-year-olds is obese. The standard also doubles the rates charged on soft drinks sold as a mixture of alcohol and cola or alcohol and fruit juice. Nowadays vending machines for drinks and sweets depend for their installation on the authorization of the director of the center. In France there are about 8,000 in operation (in 20% of schools and 50% of institutes). “We are the scapegoat of the situation, the senators and deputies sacrifice us to buy cheap a good conscience,” said the president of the association of sales and automated services.

France banned soft drink and snack machines in public schools. The law also does not allow misleading advertising on television and in marquees and imposes a 1.5% tax on food companies that do not promote a healthy diet. In addition, schools have been encouraged to offer their students half an hour of daily exercise. The truth is that the law does not consider the possibility that these distribution machines could be used to sell drinks without sugar or alcohol or food with low fat, less sugar and even less salt. “The truth is that the physical appearance of the students translates today in a dramatic way the social determinism” stated the director of an institute to admit that “the best students are the best fed, those who carry a reasonable hygiene and those at home they have a higher cultural and economic level.

The French have lost their anti-obesity shield. Until a few years ago, this country boasted of having one of the lowest rates of overweight. But the situation has taken an important turn, especially among children, and the authorities have launched an aggressive advertising campaign in which a naked woman markedly obese and a headline is shown: ‘Obesity kills’. France is the first country in the European Union (EU) to report a leveling of rates of childhood obesity, suggesting that healthy eating programs and the banning of candy machines in schools are paying off, they reported. Thursday researchers. The results of two separate studies on school-aged children indicated a change in France after decades of increased disease among boys, experts at the 2008 European Congress on Obesity said.

Obesity is a central problem throughout the world, which increases the risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease in adulthood. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers that around 400 million people worldwide are obese, including 20 million children under 5 years of age. The French findings are important because they show that government policies are a key tool in the fight against childhood obesity, said Tim Lobstein, director of the International Group Against Obesity, in London.

France is on average in terms of European rates of childhood obesity. The lower figures are recorded in Scandinavia, while the largest are found in the poorest nations of southern Africa, according to researchers indicated. In one of the studies, the Lioret team showed that there had not been a significant change in the prevalence rates of obesity among children aged 3 to 17 years in surveys conducted eight years apart. The other research, from the French National Institute of Health Control, revealed that the number of obese children aged 7 to 9 years remained stable, around 18 percent, between 2000 and 2007. Children are raised in a time of high energy density ‘food’, which increases screen time and sedentary behavior. The World Health Organization (WHO), the fastest growing obesity in the region of France, where overweight and childhood obesity has more than doubled from 1990 to 2013.

Girls at higher risk

According to the most recent national survey, 14.2% of primary school children are already overweight (2). This prevalence is higher, at 30%, in girls who live in urban areas.

The results of the ‘Birth in Twenty’ study in Soweto recently showed that girls who were obese between the ages of four and six years were 42 times more likely to be obese in adolescence compared to their normal-weight peers. Obesity is not a complex problem, since we have the tools to face it. We can end the epidemic of childhood obesity if we act together. The President of the World Federation of Obesity, Professor Ian Caterson, calls for decisive action, “If governments hope to achieve the WHO goal of keeping childhood obesity at the 2012 levels, then the time to act is now. “

Different action plans have been developed to eradicate this disease as much as possible. Recommendations include addressing the norms, treating children who are already obese, promoting the intake of healthy foods and physical activity, improvement before conception and pregnancy care, healthier school environments, and curbing the marketing of unhealthy foods. The French Department of Health has incorporated these guidelines into its own strategy for the prevention and control in France of the obesity framework. Childhood obesity stands out within this strategy as a specific area of focus given the great perceived benefit interventions can produce.

There is no single solution for obesity, and the involvement of all sectors is necessary. Food and restaurant food industry especially fast – still largely unregulated – must be part of the solution by producing healthier products and foods with low sugar, salt and fat content, and by partnering with the government and civil society to make the choice of healthy food more affordable. Parents have the greatest influence on their children’s risk of obesity. Mothers should aim for a normal weight before pregnancy, adequate weight gain during pregnancy and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Parents should introduce healthy eating habits from six months onwards and set an example to create an active lifestyle for the whole family, with this type of behavior we can easily create a society aware of the lack of food control, we could end several diseases related to obesity such as stress, depression, breathing problems and have healthier hearts.