PCRM Cosigns Open Letter to the United Nations Promoting Healthy Diets
PCRM took a step toward combating the global obesity epidemic by cosigning an open letter to the United Nations promoting healthy vegetarian diets. The letter is a response to a statement made on May 18 by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) advocating increased plant consumption to combat obesity.
“The EU diet has gradually deteriorated and has become too rich in fats, particularly saturated fats, sugar and cholesterol,” an FAO economist told the European representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the FAO who were meeting in Rome. The prevalence of obesity in many parts of Europe has risen threefold since the 1980s.
Dr. Marc Danzon, WHO Regional Director for Europe, noted that obesity has the most long-term consequences for children. “Everyone must have access to healthy food, and government policies must support both availability and access in Europe,” he added.
FAO nutritionist Guy Nantel explained that obesity doesn’t just affect wealthy countries; it is quickly becoming a problem in developing countries, where undernourishment now co-exists with obesity. Nantel said the adoption of Western diets along with sedentary lifestyles were to blame for this problem.
The open letter, written by the European Vegetarian Union, is addressed to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. The letter suggests that many people buy fattening foods because they are less expensive than fruits and vegetables. EU agriculture policy, as well as farm policy in the United States, heavily subsidizes the production of meat and dairy products.
The letter co-signed by PCRM asks the FAO and WHO to take the next step by reexamining these agriculture policies and looking into the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. The letter explains that the adoption of a vegetarian diet would eliminate or greatly reduce intakes of saturated fats and cholesterol, lower the risk of many health threats, and possibly result in weight loss.