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Breakfast Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 06:00 GMT 07:00 UK
Fighting fat: the obesity epidemic
Fat Britain
Who's to blame for obesity in Britain?
Obesity has reached record levels in this country and tonight a new all party group of MP's is meeting to ask what can be done about it.

They're starting with the food industry itself - is it in any way responsible for the current levels of obesity in Britain?

Can we blame the manufacturers - and if we can what should be done about it ?


We talked to Kevin Hawkins, Communications Director of the supermarket chain, Safeway and Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at Thames Valley University.

Clearer labelling and better education about the fat and calorie content of foods may help to ease the problem but Safeway who are taking part in the discussion say that our eating habits are now determined by a convenient lifestyle.

Safeway say they are trying to make their food more healthy. They are concentrating on retailing more healthy snacks and healthier ready meals.

They also say they are using stimulating packaging, with the nutritional information clearly marked on the pack, so at a glance the buyer can see fat and calorie content.

Professor Tim Lang of Thames Valley University, says most of the 600m spent on advertising food in the UK each year promotes snacks, sweets and fatty foods.

He says children are bombarded with messages promoting unhealthy "free" choices.

He wants retailers to:

  • stop selling fat, look at what they are selling and their own brands and make sure they are healthier.
  • relocate to places so people can use food energy rather than fossil fuel energy to get to them (i.e. cycle rather than car).
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    25 Jul 01 | N Ireland
    03 May 00 | Health
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