Wealth not health
The causes of obesity are widely acknowledged as complex — involving changing lifestyles, genetics, and, in particular, consumption of processed foods high in salt, sugar and fat.
KFC’s presence in Ghana so far is relatively modest but rapidly growing, and it underscores the way fast food can shape palates, habits and waistlines.
Research shows that people who eat more fast food are more likely to gain weight and become obese, and nutrition experts here express deep concern at the prospect of an increasingly heavy and diabetic population, without the medical resources to address a looming health crisis that some say could rival AIDS.
Through the WI lens
This article offers a salutary reminder that, despite all the excitement about wellness (particularly among wellness aficionados!), fast food continues to do remarkably well, particularly in emerging markets. From 2011 to 2016, fast food sales increased by 21.5% in the US and by 30% worldwide. In some countries like Ghana and Argentina, it went up by more than several hundred per cent during the same period! The reason is straightforward: in middle-income countries, fast food is symbolically associated with wealth.
It is therefore following the expansion of the middle class, and leading to a surge in obesity, exposing countries with limited fiscal capabilities to a looming health crisis. All emerging markets face the same quandary: how to grow and move beyond scarcity while supporting growing populations and urbanisation without being overtaken by processed and fast food. So far, not a single nation has been able to reverse the growth of obesity, but the backlash is coming. Public awareness about healthy eating is not working or not enough. Soon, governments will have to increase regulatory pressure in order tu put a lid on exponential health costs related to obesity.
What this article goes on to explain is how positive thinking – described here as ‘thriving’ – can counter the effects that come from the negativity outlined above, from reduced memory to diminished performance. Based on studying people in a series of organisations in different industries, one of the authors has found that people who attain this state are more resilient, experience less burnout, and are more confident in their ability to take control of a situation
“Behind the jargon what this is really about is how we address the challenge of biodiversity under threat, move away from fossil materials like plastic and concrete, and use nature in a sustainable way, all of which could be summed up by “living in harmony with nature”.”
“In the new ‘consensual contract’ between employer and worker, what’s required is a commitment from the employer to safeguard the wellbeing of their people, and a commitment in return from employees to take personal responsibility for their performance of their job.”
“Could loneliness not only be damaging our mental and physical health but also be making the world a more aggressive, angry place? And if so, what are the implications for a cohesive society and democracy?”
“On such fragile foundations are built the first steps towards a more ethical kind of business, and who knows what virtuous circles might result?”
“Scientific evidence recently emerged that, contrary to earlier beliefs, Covid-19 can be spread by tiny droplets that we breathe out when we respire, called aerosols.”
“Economic wellbeing is part of the story, but it is also about finding less stressful lifestyles, in which healthy diet figures as a meaningful measure of success.”
“The industry has every asset needed to be a guiding light in the shift toward personal health priority. Will that become a prevention legacy, a ‘phoenix rising’ from the Covid-19 ashes?”
“Looking at the bigger picture, putting the measures in this order represents a lost opportunity that the pandemic could have offered for a cultural pivot pivot towards getting people more focused on their health, a powerful statement of intent.”
“Employment is necessary to fulfil our most basic human needs such as food and shelter. Any significant increase in long-term unemployment will spell a retrograde step for human wellbeing like no other.”