Governments around the world need to make immediate and dramatic policy changes to reverse a pandemic of obesity which could affect an extra 11 million people in the UK over the next 20 years, public health scientists have warned.The call to act…comes in a series of papers published on Friday in the Lancet medical journal. The journal begins with a strongly-worded editorial arguing that voluntary food industry codes are ineffective and ministers must intervene more directly…There was a particular need for leadership ahead of a UN summit in New York next month on preventing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer, said one of the authors, Boyd Swinburn, from the centre for obesity prevention at Melbourne’s Deakin University..Swinburn’s paper comes up with a clear primary culprit: a powerful global food industry “which is producing more processed, affordable, and effectively-marketed food than ever before”. He said an “increased supply of cheap, palatable, energy-dense foods”, coupled with better distribution and marketing, had led to “passive overconsumption”.
Naturally the individual is incapable of deciding these things for himself. And naturally, we have to think of, yes, wait for it, the children.
Another study by Steven Gortmaker from Harvard University’s school of public health, concludes that the response by governments has been a failure of will which mirrored previous struggles to tackle tobacco consumption. Ministers knew it made sense to crack down on junk foods but did not have the political appetite to take on such a huge industry.
“I think governments get it, but don’t know what to do about it, and don’t think it’s their responsibility. But it is their responsibility,” he said. His study lists eight cost-effective policies. Topped by a tax on unhealthy food and drink, the rest focus on shielding children from TV advertising or ensuring they exercise more.
Why won’t these people just go away?