Some of the most pressing health issues of our time include obesity, dental health, and Type 2 diabetes. A common factor in all three of these health challenges is a diet that is high in sugar. If recent trends continue, it is estimated that there will be 2.16 billion individuals classified as overweight and 1.12 billion as obese, globally, by 2030.
The McKinsey group recently estimated that the total annual economic cost of obesity globally is £1 trillion. Equally, tooth decay is one of the most common health problems in the UK: it is estimated that 1 in 3 adults suffers from dental cavities and close to 1 in 4 children equally suffer from some form of tooth decay.
And by 2025, 5 million people will have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK. It is the leading cause of blindness in the UK and each year, 24 000 people die early from diabetes-associated complications.
This theme is currently in the research phase, which means we are finding out as much as we can about the topic in order to define specific Challenges. We do this by:
- Researching current work and literature in the area
- Talking to potential partners already engaged in trying to solve this problem to see what problems they are facing.
Following some initial research, we think the Challenges might fall into the following areas:
- Manufacture and marketing of high sugar foods – how do we encourage manufacturers and retailers to reduce sugar content in foods and/or change their approach to marketing such foods?
- Making healthier choices – how we help consumer make healthy choices when selecting foods?
- Understanding sugar – there are many different types of sugar with different effects on health – how do we give clear guidance and information that does not confuse the consumer?
Some references for initial reading:
We want to partner with organisations working in this area and harness the power of Solverboard Social to find ways of dealing with this challenging problem.
At this stage we are looking for as many people to contribute as possible. You can join the discussion using the comments section, or post a contribution if you have more substantial information to offer, such as:
- Signposting to useful research, information or literature in the area
- Information from or about potential partners working in this area, who might be interested in sponsoring a Social Challenge
- Thoughts on what the key problems in this area might be, to help us define a Challenge
- Initial ideas about solving the problem