Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Health education not enough to solve obesity crisis

24.10.2006
Improvements in health education will not be sufficient to tackle the obesity crisis in Europe, according to an influential University of Sussex report.

The two-year study, which involved collecting the views of key stakeholders in nine EU countries that all show rising obesity, calls for a package of measures to deal with the issue. These include better provision of facilities for physical activity in schools and communities, radical changes to transport and planning policies, improved food labelling and tighter restrictions on advertising junk foods.

"Just telling people how to be more healthy will not solve the growing problem of obesity in the UK," said project leader Professor Erik Millstone. "The UK and other European governments need to take several steps to make it much easier for citizens to have healthier diets and lifestyles. A coherent set of government policies is needed, or the problem will only get worse."

More than 200 leading representatives of farmers, retailers, consumer groups and health and fitness organisations and policy-makers across the UK and eight other European countries were interviewed, probing their views on options for dealing with the rapid increase of obesity in their populations.

Professor Millstone, a reader in science policy, said: "Our findings show that there is a broad consensus that the trend in obesity is unsustainable and that urgent action should be taken to reverse that trend. The UK Government, along with the European authorities, have an essential part to play. There is a clear need not just for improved food and health education but also for improved food labelling and tight controls on the advertising and marketing of 'obesogenic' (ie 'junk') foods, particularly to children."

The study, entitled PorGrow, showed that improved and compulsory food and drink labelling was seen as essential, even by representatives of the food industry. The under-use of school and college gymnasia, swimming pools and sports facilities after the end of the school day and during school holidays was seen as wasteful.

The most controversial measure recommended is a restriction on the marketing and advertising of certain categories of food and drink, especially to children and young people. "While advertising industry representatives were amongst those least enthusiastic for that option, a large majority of other stakeholder groups, including some companies in the food chain, favoured tighter controls and a comprehensive ban on the advertising and marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks, especially to children and young people," said Professor Millstone.

Almost all stakeholders agreed that four policy options would be poorly accepted and unlikely to be effective. These were: taxes on junk foods and/or subsidies on relatively healthy foods, the increased use of synthetic sweeteners or fat substitutes, the use of physical activity monitoring devices such as pedometers, and the use of medication for weight control.

Speaking at the launch of the report, MP David Lepper, said: "It is vital that the upward trend in obesity in the UK is reversed, and the policy recommendations from this project provide an excellent basis for action by the UK Government and by the EU. The findings of this project show that a single 'magic bullet' will not solve the problem and that a set of coherent measures will be necessary. The costs of not solving the obesity problem will hugely exceed the costs of solving it."

Dr Tim Lobstein, of the International Obesity TaskForce, said: "Stakeholder views are an essential component of policy-making, along with scientific evidence and expert opinion. When all three coincide - as they do here - then there is no room left for doubt. Every year at least 20,000 more children and 200,000 more adults in the UK will become obese. Now is the time for government action."

Jessica Mangold | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>