Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Global governments must ‘get tough on obesity’

Global governments must ‘get tough on obesity’
September 2, 2011

Tougher action, including taxing junk food, is needed by all governments if the obesity crisis is going to be tackled, according to an international group of researchers.

The researchers (Dr Claire Wang, Prof Klim McPherson PhD, Tim Marsh, Steven L Gortmaker PhD and Martin Brown PhD), who have published a series of articles in The Lancet, said no country had yet got to grips with the problem.

They said changes in society meant it was getting harder for people to live healthy lives.

And they warned without state action, health systems could become swamped.

Obesity-related problems, such as diabetes, were now accounting for between 2% and 6% of health care costs in most countries.

However, as one of the articles showed, this is likely to get worse if current trends continue.

Researchers made projections for the US and the UK - two of the developed countries with the worst rates of obesity.

They predicted obesity rates would rise from a quarter in the UK to about 40% by 2030.

Such a scenario would cost the NHS an extra £2 billion bn a year - the equivalent of 2% of health spending.

The rise in costs would be even greater in the US, where obesity rates would rise from one in three to about one in two.

The researchers accepted that the whole of society - from the individual to industry - had a role to play in tackling the problem.

But they said governments needed to take a lead by using legislation and direct intervention to create a better environment.

They said many measures - including taxes on unhealthy food, restrictions on junk food advertising, traffic light labelling and school-based education programmes - would save money as well as benefit health.

Others, such as providing obesity surgery and health programmes aimed at families with overweight children, would come with a minor cost although should still be looked at.

Oxford University expert Professor Klim McPherson, who was one of the lead researchers, said: "it is about changing the environment in which people live so they can make healthier choices."

But he said too many countries shied away from taking the right action and urged a forthcoming UN summit on health in September to "show leadership" by putting pressure on governments to act.

In particular, he criticised the government in England, which has been focusing on voluntary agreements with industry rather than legislation.

McPherson said ministers were "enfeebled by their ideology" and too worried about accusations of the nanny state.

He added "they have this idea that government action in this sphere would not be a good idea."

Professor Boyd Swinburn of Deakin University's School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, who also works for the World Health Organisation, agreed governments had been too slow to act on the "obesity crisis.

"There is more willingness to invest in drugs and surgery than dealing with the underlying causes."

Swinburn also compared the tactics of the food industry - in terms of getting people addicted to their products and in blocking attempts to discourage consumption - to those of tobacco firms in previous decades.

Dr Frank Atherton, President of the UK's Association of Directors of Public Health, also said he was in favour of the interventions being suggested, stating "of course we have to work with industry, but there is a feeling that the emphasis of this government has turned too far away from legislation."

However, Terry Jones, of the UK Food and Drink Federation, said the industry had been taking positive steps.

Jones explained "The Lancet fails to recognise the lengths to which the UK food and drink industry has gone to help improve the health of the nation, particularly in relation to rising obesity levels."
Source: Nick Triggle, BBC News

For more information go to www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)60814-3/abstract

23rd April 2011 - LEISURE INC. TACKLES CHILD OBESITY IN BAHRAIN

28th October 2010 - OVERWEIGHT AUSSIES DON’T HAVE TIME TO BE ACTIVE

18th September 2009 - BABY BOOMERS SHOULD LIVE LIKE ATHLETES

18th May 2009 - ENVIRONMENT TO BLAME FOR OBESITY


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

N/A 5dd5ee3abcfd9

Aerobic Microphones Australia provides audio products for the fitness industry. Products include the sweat resistant Cyclemic and Aeromic headworn microphones and pouchbelts that are made in…

read more

Fitness / Technology

 
 

N/A 5dd5ee3a39d8a

Gladstone Health & Leisure (Gladstone MRM Pty Ltd Australia) is a leading supplier of leisure management and fitness software and is endorsed by leading health and fitness professionals and…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Venues

 
 
 

N/A 5dd5ee3b625c9

Headquartered in Brisbane with an Australia-wide network of satellite offices, PaySmart is one of Australia’s largest and longest-standing direct debit billing companies. In 1996 we began…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology

 
 

N/A 5dd5ee4101ec4

A leading designer and manufacturer of innovative waterslides and attractions, Australian Waterslides and Leisure (AWL) is also able to advise clients in the areas of concept and design, feasibility…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks

 
 

N/A 5dd5ee74e1fea

As of the 1st July 2018, Enta Australasia Pty Ltd/Best Union has been rebranded as VIVATICKET Pty Ltd.  19th July 2018 - ENTA AUSTRALASIA REBRANDS AS VIVATICKET 17th October 2016…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Sport / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

N/A 5dd5ee5b47af4

At EventPro Software, we are proudly different from our industry competitors. We have a development-driven culture and 20 years’ experience in event, venue, and catering management software,…

read more

Events / Hospitality / Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

N/A 5dd5ee4d87652

As of the 1st July 2018, Enta Australasia Pty Ltd/Best Union has been rebranded as VIVATICKET Pty Ltd.  Click here to view the VIVATICKET Pty Ltd listing.  19th July 2018 - ENTA…

read more

Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business