Beyonce Pepsi Beyonce/Karwai Tang/ZumaPress

De strijd om gezonde voeding

DRESDEN – In welke mate moeten overheden verslavingsgedrag reguleren of belasten? Deze vraag heeft lange tijd de publieke discussie over alcohol, tabak, gokken en andere goederen en diensten in veel landen over de hele wereld beheerst. En nu gaat het debat in de Verenigde Staten – de 'moeder' van de mondiale consumptiemaatschappij – over de strijd tegen de obesitas-epidemie bij kinderen.

Het is ironisch dat in een wereld waar veel ontwikkelingslanden worden geplaagd door ondervoeding van kinderen kinder-obesitas een van de voornaamste gezondheidsproblemen in de geavanceerde economieën is geworden. De Wereldbank schat bijvoorbeeld dat ruim een derde van alle kinderen in Indonesië kampt met groeiproblemen, waardoor ze het risico lopen van levenslange gevolgen voor hun fitheid en cognitieve ontwikkeling. Maar het lijden van ondervoede kinderen in de ontwikkelingslanden maakt obesitas in de geavanceerde landen niet tot een minder groot probleem.

Hoewel het misschien niet op gelijke hoogte staat met de opwarming van de aarde en de dreigende watertekorten, neemt het probleem van obesitas – en vooral kinder-obesitas – niettemin een voorname plaats in op de short list van de grote volksgezondheidsproblemen waarvoor de geavanceerde landen in de 21e eeuw staan; ook veel opkomende economieën worden er inmiddels door getroffen. Toch is het oplossen ervan veel lastiger geworden dan in het geval van de meest succesvolle interventies op het gebied van de volksgezondheid van de vorige eeuw, waaronder die van de bijna-universele inenting tegen kinderziekten, de fluoridering van het drinkwater en de veiligheidsvoorschriften voor het gemotoriseerde verkeer.

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