Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tackle Obesity Like Smoking-Researcher Tells Govts

“Tackling the global obesity epidemic will require governments to take similar action to that many used to curb smoking, a top researcher said on Wednesday. This could include regulations that restrict how companies market "junk" food to children and requirements for schools to serve healthy meals, said Professor Boyd Swinburn, a public health researcher who works with the World Health Organisation. ‘The brakes on the obesity epidemic need to be policy-led and governments need to take centre stage,’ Swinburn, a researcher at Deakin University in Australia, told Reuters at the 2008 European Congress on Obesity. ‘Governments have to lead the way they did with the tobacco epidemic. We need hard-hitting messages.’ Action is urgent because, aside from sub-Saharan Africa, nearly every country has suffered a dramatic rise in the number of obese people in the past 30 years. That increase has likely been a tripling in many industrialised nations, he said. The World Health Organisation classifies around 400 million people around the world as obese, 20 million of them children under the age of five.”

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