In five years, the OECD projects many countries will have more than two-thirds of their population being overweight or obese – 15 years ago, it was only 50%. This presents as one of the most significant megatrends of our time, along with malnutrition in developing countries and perhaps climate change. Many first world nations are now declining in terms of life expectancy, which is astounding given our increasing wealth and technological advancement.
Our health systems are not working well enough to tackle this mega trend. In the US, one of the highest obesity rated nations, healthcare is approaching 18% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which is approximately twice as much as other OECD countries. Despite this, we see some innovative ideas that have potential, including
- Texas Meals on Wheels program resulted in less heart attacks, strokes, hospital visits from heart failure and lower rates of diabetes and dementia. The value was not only in the meals but also providing social support on a regular basis
- Dubai Municipality paid its residents to lose weight by offering at least a gram of gold for every kilogram lost
- My Fitness Pal App has over 50 million users that have shed over 100 million ‘pounds’ of weight collectively
- Mexico City rewarded free metro rides for 10 squats on the spot
- Rhode Island gamified communal weight loss to achieve better results than individual weight loss efforts. Accountability to family and friends is an important element of behavioural change
- Australia’s CSIRO Total Well Being diet which offers a refund if you lose your desired weight – this has been trialled in over 11,000 Australians and those that claimed a refund lost 5kg more than those that didn’t claim a refund
- DietBet and HealthyWage Apps link weight loss to financial incentives, which has been proven to be 5 times as effective in achieving weight loss goals
If you struggle with your weight, consider help from a multi-disciplinary team of GPs, psychologists, exercise physios and dietitians at Osana.