Experts call for worldwide obesity strategy

26 August 2011

The global obesity pandemic needs to be met by coordinated government strategies focusing on unhealthy food taxes and limits to food marketing aimed at children, experts have argued.

In a series of special papers in the Lancet, health professionals claimed that to stem the tide of people needing weight loss surgery in the coming years, existing policies need to change.

A separate paper published in the journal by Dr William Dietz estimated that US obesity rates could rise to 50 per cent of the population, while current strategies will soon be proved inadequate as they have often come too late, despite the risks being evident early on.

Steven Gortmaker, professor of health sociology at Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the Lancet article Changing the Future of Obesity, said: "By imposing tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and limiting marketing of unhealthy foods to children, governments can lead in making it easier for children to make healthy choices."

In a separate study published earlier this week in the Pediatric Research journal, the link between a mother's weight and the chances of her child having associated weight-related health problems was strengthened.

Posted by Philip Briggs

1 Gortmaker, Steven L., "Changing the Future of Obesity: Science, Policy, and Action". The Lancet. Friday August 27th 2011.

2 Dietz, William, "Reversing the tide of obesity". The Lancet. Friday August 27th 2011.

3 Modi Neena, et al., "The influence of maternal body mass index on infant adiposity and hepatic lipid content." Pediatric Research, September 2011.

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