A new study by scientists at Oxford University has found that a country’s economy could be a major contributory factor to rises in the rate of obesity and diabetes . The research showed that the stress of competition in modern western economies that offer little in the way of social safety nets means that people tend to overeat, which can lead on to obesity and type 2 diabetes .
The study, published in the journal Economics and Human Biology, examined obesity rates in 11 wealthy countries around the world, as well as their economic and political systems. It revealed that countries where the markets are not well regulated and there is a lack of resources to depend on if you lose your job are more likely to have higher obesity rates.
In the US, for instance, which has looser corporate regulation and less social safety nets than other countries, the obesity rate is higher than 30 per cent, while a country such as Norway, which provides its citizens with a lot more social programs, has an obesity rate of only 5 per cent. Other prosperous but less regulated countries such as the UK, Australia and Canada also have high rates of obesity, compared with more socialised nations such as Italy, Germany and Finland.
The study claimed “It may be that the economic benefits of flexible and open markets come at a price to personal and public health which is rarely taken into account. Basically, our hypothesis is that market-liberal reforms have stimulated competition in both the work environment and in what we consumen, and this has undermined personal stability and security.”

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