Carry On Guzzling

The Lancet, the academic community, the government and the World Health Organisation all agree that obesity is a serious threat. Interestingly, so does the food industry.

So, as a nation, should we:

a) just take individual responsibility and eat less? (Requires a strong and persistent public education campaign. People may also need a little help from the authorities: Japan has legal waistline standards.)

b) change the formulation of processed foods, so that we can eat as much as we like without getting fat? Or change the labelling of products, so we know how much food we are about to eat? (This is the voluntary approach favoured by industry. It shows little sign of reversing obesity trends.)

c) increase the price of food so that we buy and eat less of it? (This is likely to happen in Hungary. The UK government has come out against it.)

The correct answer is probably: all of the above. If we were serious about it, we would undoubtedly pursue action on all fronts. What’s more, it is likely to save everyone money – except perhaps for those food companies that refused to re-formulate their products.

So why has Public Health Minister Anne Milton ruled out any action by government? She seems content with new labelling practices by industry when it’s waistlines, not tag lines that matter.

Could this have anything to do with connections between government and industry?

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