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Government unveils blitz on obesity

Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Schools Secretary Ed Balls have published a strategy aimed at reversing the spiralling problem of obesity.

The £372m plan is aimed at the NHS, schools, companies, and individuals, and includes £30m to create "healthy towns" which will promote physical activity.

A £75m advertising campaign targeted at children will also aim to encourage healthier diets and exercise.

Obese people could also be offered vouchers or cash to lose weight under the plans.

And Mr Johnson revealed the government may bring in new laws if the food industry does not support proposals for a single system for food labelling.

He added: "Tackling obesity is the most significant public and personal health challenge facing our society.

"The core of the problem is simple - we eat too much and we do too little exercise. The solution is more complex.

"From the nature of the food that we eat, to the built environment, through to the way our children lead their lives - it is harder to avoid obesity in the modern environment.

"It is not the government's role to hector or lecture people, but we do have a duty to support them in leading healthier lifestyles.

"This will only succeed if the problem is recognised, owned and addressed in every part of society."

Almost a quarter of men and women in England are now obese. One in five two to 15-year-olds are also obese, with a further 14% classed as overweight.

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Department of Health

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"I do not think it will work. People who are lazy will remain lazy. You have to be committed in order to succeed. It is not only exercise and diet, you have to be in the right frame of mind and you need to want to succeed on your own behalf" - Name and address supplied