A link exists between a country’s economic freedom, fast-food purchases, and obesity, researchers say.
Their results fit New Zealand, among other countries, they said.
The World Health Organisation has used the study as another opportunity to call for governments to take action to “reverse the obesity epidemic by hindering the spread of ultra-processed foodstuffs”.
The authors used data on the number of fast-food transactions per capita from 1999 to 2008 in 25 high-income countries and compared that with figures on body mass index (BMI) in the same countries over the same period.
A report of the study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation, said the work showed that countries adopting market-liberal policies had faster increases in both fast-food consumption and mean BMI.
The average number of fast-food transactions per capita per year increased for all 25 countries in the study, with the 10.1 transactions per capita increase in New Zealand the fourth highest.
Canada (16.6), Australia (14.7) and Ireland (12.3) had larger increases.
According to the OECD, New Zealand has the fourth-highest rate of obesity among members of the organisation, with 27.8 per cent of the population aged 15 and above rated as obese, based on BMI figures.
New Zealand was also ranked fifth in the 2014 index of economic freedom published by US think tank The Heritage Foundation.
So destroy capitalism and you solve obesity. This is probably right. When did you last see an obese North Korean (except for their leaders)?
And think of all those countries in Africa with no economic freedom. No fatties there either. A few million may die from lack of food, but at least no one is obese.