Meatless Monday
Fights Global Obesity

January 12th, 2015


A recent study from Mckinsey Global Institute (MGI) has revealed obesity now accounts for approximately 5 percent of all deaths worldwide. The global cost of the disease has risen to about $2 trillion. MGI also estimated that more than 2 billion people, about one-third of the world’s population, are now obese or overweight. This trend is only increasing as emerging economies grow.

“Obesity is a complex, systemic issue with no single or simple solution.” Write the authors of the study, “The global discord surrounding how to move forward underscores the need for integrated assessments of potential solutions. Lack of progress on these fronts is obstructing efforts to address rising rates of obesity.”

Despite the complexity of the issue, the study does encourage several strategies toward combating obesity. While education and personal responsibility are critical elements of any program aiming to reduce obesity, they are insufficient on their own—changing societal norms is key. Subsidized school meals, calorie and nutrition labeling, restrictions on advertising high-calorie food and drinks, and public health campaigns could all help make a difference.

Meatless Monday is one such public health initiative that could help. Reducing the meat in ones diet is an actionable way for an individual to combat obesity (and also related diseases such as diabetes.) Studies have demonstrated that people on plant-based, vegetarian diets tend to have a significantly lower body weight and body mass index. This may be in part because plant-based diets are rich in dietary fiber (which is not found in animal products) and fiber contributes to fullness, resulting in lower calorie intake and less overeating.

Plus Meatless Monday is something you can start right now. If the trend continues at the current rate, almost half of the adult population is expected to be overweight by 2030. A true solution will come from a holistic approach—involving individuals, governments, restaurants, employers, media organizations, educators, and healthcare providers. But as an individual, you can start Meatless Monday today and put up a fight.