Is regulation needed to curb NZ’s rising fast food consumption?

A WHO-commissioned study of fast food purchases per capita has found that NZ is one of the worst, with a sharp increase in both fast food consumption and obesity rates in recent years. The authors behind the study suggest that better regulation of food products is the answer to cutting back on unhealthy eating.

The study, by a team of researchers based in the United States and Ireland, is the first to look at the effects of deregulation in the economy, including the agricultural and food sectors, and the resulting increase in fast food transactions on obesity over time. It suggests that if governments take action, they can prevent overweight and obesity, which can have serious long-term health consequences including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

According to the study, New Zealand had one of the sharpest increases in fast food consumption, coming fourth behind in Canada, Australia and Ireland in the OECD countries, while the lowest increases were in countries with more stringent market regulation, such as Italy, the Netherlands, Greece and Belgium.

You read more about the study in a  media release from the WHO, and the full study, published this week in the Bulletin of the WHO, is available here.

National media coverage includes:

TVNZ News: World study highlights NZ obesity rate
NZ Doctor: Tighter economic regulation needed to reverse obesity epidemic – study
MSN NZ News: Study links obesity to fast food sales
TVNZ News: Kiwis among biggest junk food consumers
TVNZ Breakfast: New Zealand fast food consumption increasing
3 News: Study links obesity to fast food sales