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Obesity Report ‘Missed Opportunity’

Obesity Action Coalition Says Obesity Report ‘Missed Opportunity’

The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) says the report of the Health Committee Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes does not go far enough.

OAC Director Leigh Sturgiss says the Committee has missed the opportunity to recommend changes are made now.

“There’s talk of regulation, but no action. Appealing to the food, drink and advertising industries to find solutions to the rise of obesity is never going to work. These industries are out to make a profit, not to protect people’s health.”

She says the issue of obesity, much like that of tobacco use, needs a strong, comprehensive approach that includes regulation.

“The time for asking the industry nicely is over. We need a ban on the marketing of unhealthy food and drinks to children.”

However, she says some parts of the report are encouraging, such as the call for the establishment of an independent commissioner to monitor the strategy, and a ministerial committee and expert advisory group.

“We also support the recommendation for a social marketing programme, encouraging healthy diets and physical activity in schools, and the introduction of specific targets for reducing obesity.”

Leigh Sturgiss says the Coalition is particularly disappointed with the National Party’s response to obesity and type 2 diabetes, as outlined in the report.

“Despite clear evidence that poor diet is a leading risk factor for death, the National Party is calling for ‘promotion and education’ instead of using proven, effective strategies such as regulation.

“The problem is we live in an ‘obesogenic’ environment – in which it is easier to take the car to the shops than to walk; quicker to buy takeaways than to cook; and in which children are constantly bombarded with ads for high-sugar, high-fat foods.

“These are the things we need to address if we are to protect the next generation from obesity, type 2 diabetes, obesity-related illnesses and early death. A call for education is like saying ‘do nothing’.”


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