6 March 2006

Half of American children obese by 2010, 38% of European ones [AP]

Be the first to share

Associated Press reports that according to a study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, rates of childhood obesity are expected to skyrocket in the coming years, with half of the children in North and South America obese by 2010 (via FutureWire).

Europe doesn’t fare much better, with 38% of kids there expected to be overweight within five years. Even China will see its population of obese children increase to 20% in that period.

“The Western world’s food industries without even realising it have precipitated an epidemic with enormous health consequences,” said Dr. Philip James, chairman of the International Obesity Task Force.

As in the US, the combination of junk food, poor overall eating habits and less exercise is to blame for the problem worldwide. The trend has crucial implications on the future health of the young generation — most notably, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. “This is going to be the first generation that’s going to have a lower life expectancy than their parents,” said UK surgeon Dr. Phillip Thomas. “It’s like the plague is in town and no one is interested.”

To fight the epidemic, radical steps need to be taken, says Dr. James. He believes that all marketing aimed at children — especially for food — should be banned.

What can designers do to change this trend?

Today I was reading Open Health, the UK Design Council report on creating new healthcare systems, which starts out with a poignant analysis of the current state of institutionalised health care:

“Healthcare was shaped by the 19th century problems of contagious and acute disease, and institutionalised in the organisational model of the mass production era. Those structures now have to cope with a new epidemic of chronic disease. Without significant changes, health spending in real terms would have to double within 15 years to keep pace with demand, with health spending rising from 7.7% to 11per cent of GDP within a decade.”

The Design Council report claims to show how designing from the individual’s point of view could provide the key to solutions to this problem.

Another topic much addressed in this blog is children. Experts are now arguing that legislation is the only solution to address childhood obesity and that it is not going to be enough any more just to say to the consumer they have to change their behaviour. This will of course have major implications on food, media and toy industries. But what can companies do? What can designers do?

Be the first to share
12 November 2015
Open call for social impact business ideas and start-ups in Italy
Rinascimenti Sociali ["Social Renaissances"], the first accelerator of social knowledge and entrepreneurship in Italy, launches Foundamenta, a call exclusively dedicated to new business ideas and start-ups generating social impact. Our call is aimed at selecting …
12 November 2015
Interview with John Thackara: how to thrive in the next economy
On the occasion of the U.S. launch of his new book, How to Thrive in the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow's World Today, John Thackara sat down with Core77's Allan Chochinov to talk about the book, …
11 November 2015
Interview with Birgit Mager on the evolution of service design
Ayla Newhouse of Adaptive Path interviewed Birgit Mager, President and Co-Founder of the International Service Design Network, on how she got into service design back when it was so new, and how she defines it …
10 November 2015
Why service design is luxury’s new battleground
Ana Andjelic writes in AdAge that most legacy luxury brands are failing at delivering service, especially online: The fact that most legacy luxury brands fail to successfully create and deliver service is unfortunate. The business of …
10 November 2015
The science of human behavior is reshaping the US government
In September, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that directs federal agencies to incorporate insights from behavioral science into their programs, in order to help them achieve their policy goals. According to Dave Nussbaum, …
10 November 2015
[Book] Nudge and the Law: A European Perspective
Nudge and the Law: A European Perspective First Edition Edited by: Alberto Alemanno, Anne-Lise Sibony Hart Publishing December 2015, 400 pages Abstract Behavioural sciences help refine our understanding of human decision-making. Their insights are immensely relevant for policy-making since …
5 November 2015
[Conference] Design & The City, Amsterdam, April 2016
Design & The City explores citizen-centered design approaches for the smart city. Central theme is the role of design(ers) to create opportunities and practices for citizens, (social) entrepreneurs and policy makers towards more liveable, sustainable and …
3 November 2015
Another book entitled “The Quantified Self”
The Quantified Self By Gina Neff and Dawn Nafus MIT Press, 264 pp. April 2016 Oops, that is confusing: two books by sociologists on the quantified self movement, both entitled "The Quantified Self" and both appearing in April 2016. …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

29 September 2015
[Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness

As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council on understanding how the elderly interact with public services and how we can look towards improving their lives with design. […]

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
See all articles