17/09/2011 21:48 BST | Updated 17/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Jamie Oliver In UN Appeal Over Obesity

Jamie Oliver is taking his food campaigns to a global level by urging the secretary general of the United Nations to help end the world obesity crisis.

The chef and broadcaster has written to Ban-Ki Moon in a bid to make the UN apply pressure to governments to take action.

Oliver has raised awareness of nutrition in the UK with his Channel 4 School Dinners series, sparking a a change in the food served in the education system. He has also ruffled feathers in the US with his programmes to highlight the issues across the Atlantic.

Now he wants the world to take food education seriously before it is too late, warning soon we will be left with "a global diet of fast and processed food and drink".

Oliver says: "I have seen young mothers feeding toddlers cola through a feeding bottle because they don't understand good nutrition. I've shown simple fresh vegetables to teenage students in the United Kingdom and America and they can't identify a cucumber or an aubergine or a pear."

"If parents can't cook, how can they feed themselves and their growing families?" the chef asks.

His letter comes ahead of a UN summit in New York discussing the worsening problems of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, lung cancer and obesity-related illnesses. It is the first of its kind for many years.

Oliver raised his concerns earlier this week during a UN webcast, and the secretary general said the situation was "totally unacceptable".

In his open letter, Oliver said: "One in 10 people in the world is obese. It's affecting our kids - 42 million are overweight before they even reach school age, and most of those beautiful children will be suffering from the early stages of heart disease and diabetes by the time they reach adulthood."

The kitchen guru - who has set up his Ministry Of Food education centres in a number of communities - said that education was the "simple solution". "The knowledge to be able to feed yourself and your family in a nutritious and balanced way should be a basic human right," he said.