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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 00:32 GMT 01:32 UK
At a glance: Obesity report
overweight man
The report looks at ways of tackling obesity
A scathing report by a committee of MPs says too little has been done to tackle the growing obesity epidemic.

The Health Select Committee estimates the costs of obesity is 3.7bn per year - a 42% increase on previous estimates.

BBC News Online looks at the report's key recommendations:

What the government should do:

  • Adopt a health education campaign spelling out the health risks of being obese and overweight
  • Carry out a national food survey to see what people really eat plus research into the link between alcohol and obesity
  • Department for Culture, Media and Sport to review how foods are marketed - including celebrity endorsements - to see how healthy eating messages could be included
  • Legislate for the introduction of a "traffic light" system in supermarkets to label food as high, medium or low energy
  • Reassess VAT rules to eliminate anomalies in the current system
  • The Department of Transport to introduce a national walking strategy
  • Aim to meet the target of trebling the number who cycle by 2010

What the food industry should do:

  • Introduce a voluntary ban on TV junk food ads aimed at children,
  • Agree clear public health targets
  • Supermarkets should reduce the cost of healthy foods compared to unhealthy ones
  • Remove confectionary from check-outs
  • Fast-food outlets to offer more fruit and salad

What schools should do:

  • Introduce a "food curriculum" where all children receive cookery lessons and learn about nutrition and food labelling
  • Government should issue guidance telling schools not to accept sponsorship from junk food firms or install snack vending machines
  • Three hours of PE for children each week
  • Measure children's BMI annually

What the NHS should do:

  • Take action at all levels, including setting up a specialist obesity clinic in each primary care trust, and expanded hospital services
  • Ensure treatments - drugs and surgery - are available where patients live
  • Ensure obese children have access to specialist care


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