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 Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

nachricht Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>