Educational programs needed to reverse trend, non-profit says
(Bethesda, MD – Mar. 22, 2023) The World Obesity Federation recently released grim predictions that the majority of the global population (51%) will be overweight or obese by 2035. Childhood obesity could more than double by 2035 from 2020 levels. Rates are predicted to double among boys to 208 million (100% increase) and more than double among girls to 175 million (125% increase) and are rising more rapidly among children than adults.
According to the study, the worldwide obesity crisis could contribute to a total economic impact of $4.32 trillion by 2035 – nearly 3% of global GDP. Lower and middle income countries are facing the fastest increases in obesity.
“It’s astonishing that more than four billion people could be overweight or living with obesity in the span of twelve years. Unfortunately, we are seeing similarly distressing obesity increases in Maryland,” said Jane DeMarines, Executive Director of Bethesda-based Sustainable Earth Eating (SEE).
According to Maryland state data, 16.7% of youth aged 10 to 17 are obese, ranking 19th of 50 states and D.C. Hispanic residents have higher rates of diabetes and heart disease than the population.
SEE advocates for education program to address childhood obesity in Maryland
DeMarines has spent countless hours speaking to Maryland legislators about expanding a program SEE developed that teaches middle and high school students how to cook healthy meals (with limited resources) and connects how healthy eating can positively impact the environment. The outreach and educational program targets minority Maryland communities, including Black and Latinx to address health disparities that coexist with environmental injustice. DeMarines wants to strengthen the Maryland Environmental literacy standards to include a toolkit on the power food has to help prevent disease and help the environment.
“We need to act urgently to address the health disparities affecting underserved youth. We owe it to Maryland’s youth to invest in initiatives like the “Power of Food” to educate students on life-sustaining healthy eating while they are forming life-long habits. At the same time, we promote environmental responsibility connected to diet,” said DeMarines.
About Sustainable Earth Eating
Sustainable Earth Eating engages in outreach, advocacy, and educational initiatives to create awareness on the outsized impact of animal agriculture on the health of individuals and the climate. SEE’s activities include: “Food is Climate,” newsletter, “Climate Wednesday,” (data graphic), online cooking shows (plant-based) recipes, community events, interface with environmental journalists, celebrity Vegan interviews and more. www.sustainableeartheating.org.