Weight loss surgery: Nudge approach to obesity 'not enough'

19th July 2011

A House of Lords committee has highlighted that the government's 'nudge' approach to unhealthy lifestyles is not strong enough to tackle rising obesity rates.

The Science and Technology sub committee's report, Behaviour Change, suggests that more drastic measures need to be taken to prevent people being overweight.

Among the measures called for, the committee suggested implementing a compulsory traffic light nutritional rating system for all food packaging, rather than the current voluntary system.

It also advocated appointing a "Chief Social Scientist" to provide independent policy advice on lifestyle choices and called for restrictions on advertising high sugar and fat foods during hours when children watch TV.

"There are all manner of things that the government want us to do - lose weight, give up smoking, use the car less, give blood - but how can they get us to do them? It won't be easy and this inquiry has shown that it certainly won’t be achieved through using 'nudges', or any other sort of intervention, in isolation," said committee chair Baroness Neuberger.

Latest figures show that nearly a quarter of UK adults and one in six boys and one in seven girls are obese, suggesting the number seeking weight loss surgery could rise in the future.

Posted by Edward Bartel

1 - Behaviour Change, Science and Technology Committee, July 2011

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