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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 September 2007, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Public quizzed over obesity issue
Salad
Officials want to find out why some people fail to eat healthily
People in Wales are to be asked how to improve the nation's diet in order to cut the rising levels of obesity.

The Welsh Assembly Government says it will be the biggest consultation of its kind the UK has seen.

It comes as research shows 56% of adults in Wales are obese or overweight, and rising 3% a year.

It is hoped it will lead to better food industry training, more co-operatives and more local produce in schools and hospitals.

Chief medical officer Tony Jewell will host "roadshows" to encourage the food industry and public to take part.

We want this consultation to reach out to the groups that have traditionally found it a challenge to eat healthy produce
Tony Jewell, chief medical officer

Dr Jewell will launch the "Welsh Food Debate" at a food co-operative in Cardiff.

He said: "Eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day can reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

"However, on average, adults in Wales only eat about three portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and this is even less in socially disadvantaged groups.

"That's why we want this consultation to reach out to the groups that have traditionally found it a challenge to eat healthy produce to understand the barriers they see to eating more healthily."

People will be asked whether more healthy options should be available in local stores, cafes and workplaces.

'Timebomb ticking'

Other issues will be how changes to the way food is produced and consumed could help reduce Wales' carbon footprint, and how more local food could be used in hospital, schools and care homes.

Funding for advertising healthier food in convenience stores and the creation of more food co-operatives, using local fruit and vegetables, could also be the result.

The consultation, which will last until the end of the year, was welcomed by the Welsh Consumer Council.

Senior policy officer Lindsey Kearton said: "With the obesity timebomb ticking, accessing healthy food at a price that suits consumers' pockets is fundamental to helping people eat a balanced diet and live healthier lives.

"Many people have also lost touch with where food comes from and, as a result, are less likely to be aware of what impact food prices and year round access to a variety of different products has for both food producers, here and overseas, and the environment.

"Reconnecting people with the food supply chain will be an important step towards helping consumers to make choices that help to both support the local economy and look to the wider welfare of the planet."

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The assembly government says it will be the biggest consultation of its kind the UK



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