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Action needed to tackle obesity in Britain

18th February 2013

Leading doctors have called for urgent action to stop Britain becoming “the fat man of Europe.”

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The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges wants to see a 20% tax on sugary drinks, fewer fast food outlets near schools and a complete ban on unhealthy food in hospitals in moves to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis.

Amid fears that more than half of the country’s adults could be overweight by 2050, it is concerned the crisis is at risk of becoming “unresolvable” and says tough measures are needed.

The academy wants action from the government, NHS, councils, food firms and parents to stop a generation suffering a range of obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

A hard-hitting report from the academy is critical of past and present governments for their “piecemeal and disappointingly ineffective” attempt to deal with the problem.

It has drawn up a 10-point-plan following a year-long consultation on the topic with measures including a sugary drink tax; NHS staff to discuss eating habits with patients; and investment of £300 million over the next three years in weight management programmes.

Doctors favour more bariatric surgery, better nutritional standards in hospitals with a ban on vending machines and fast food outlets, health visitors to give nutritional advice to new parents, and for all schools in the country to serve healthy food in their canteens.

The Department of Health said that it was studying the findings but stressed the need for a united approach to help tackle the obesity problem.

 

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