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Experts criticise government obesity efforts

An apolitical, cross-departmental approach is required for the UK to tackle its obesity epidemic, an expert has written in this week's Lancet.

The editorial says that berating people to eat less and exercise more is "futile" when energy-dense foods are cheaper than healthier alternatives.

"More nutritious foods and healthier activities must become so desirable and readily accessible that their uptake is normal, and unhealthy options so inconvenient and unfashionable as to discourage their use," it reads.

The editorial describes the Foresight report as "defeatist" since it suggests that contemporary lifestyles predispose people to obesity and behavioural change is an insurmountable challenge.

In a related comment, Andrew Jack of the Financial Times said the foresight report was a "triumph of vapid political style and shabby prose over meaningful substance."

"That the government is paying fresh attention to the enormous challenge of obesity is welcome," he said.

"But if policymakers are serious, they should start by communicating more clearly, which begins with having something meaningful to say."

The Lancet

The Financial Times