Market deregulation may be making us heavier.
The World Health Organization released a study in their most recent Bulletin of the World Health Organization that they suggest may link market deregulation with rising obesity.
The study compared increases in the number of annual fast food transactions to increases in average body mass index in high-income countries. It found the countries that saw the largest increase in fast food transactions generally also saw the largest jump in average BMI. The same countries that saw larger increases in transaction numbers at fast food chains were also the nations that practiced more liberal market policies, causing a conclusion that countries that adopt these market strategies more quickly see a rise in obesity rates.
“Unless governments take steps to regulate their economies, the invisible hand of the market will continue to promote obesity worldwide with disastrous consequences for future public health and economic productivity,” said Dr. Roberto De Vogli, lead author from University of California, Davis.
Canada seems to have fared well, relative to other nations. Canada saw the largest increase in our average fast food transactions per capita with 16.6, but didn’t see as large a rise in average BMI, with 11 nations seeing larger jumps and 13 experiencing smaller increases.
The study was done between 1999 and 2008, and all 25 nations looked at saw increases in both fast food transactions and BMI averages, highlighting the obesity epidemic as a problem in all high-income countries, although some do stand out more than others.