Politics is key to tackling widespread obesity, studies suggest

June 14, 2010

Politicians could do more to tackle the spread of obesity, a new series of studies suggests.

Governments are being urged to encourage better eating habits by supporting financial incentives to enable production of healthier foods, such as subsidised fruit and vegetable production and levies on calorie-rich foods.

Local authorities are also being called upon to promote creation of neighbourhoods that allow residents easy access to good local parks and shops, encouraging people to be more active.

The research findings, collated in a book by a University of Edinburgh scientist, suggests that broad changes to the environments in which people live have contributed to a rise in obesity in recent decades, with increased use of cars, lack of local green space and an abundance of cheap, high-calorie foods.

Dr Jamie Pearce, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, co-editor of the book 'Geographies of Obesity', said: "People know they should eat well and take exercise but this can be difficult in practice - all too often fast food is readily available but there is little local access to , while often the easiest way to get around is by car.

"Authorities could do more to change the way entire populations live, at an international, national and local level, making it easier for people to eat well and be active. Doing a little could make a big difference."

Over the past two decades, rates of adult and in the developed world have risen sharply. In the year 2000, 65 per cent of Americans were overweight, and 30 per cent were obese. raises the risk of diabetes, cancer, , and .

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Hormone therapy in the menopause transition did not increase stroke risk

November 24, 2017
Postmenopausal hormone therapy is not associated with increased risk of stroke, provided that it is started early, according to a report from Karolinska Institutet published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Moderate coffee drinking 'more likely to benefit health than to harm it', say experts

November 22, 2017
Drinking coffee is "more likely to benefit health than to harm it" for a range of health outcomes, say researchers in The BMJ today.

When traveling on public transport, you may want to cover your ears

November 22, 2017
The noise levels commuters are exposed to while using public transport or while biking, could induce hearing loss if experienced repeatedly and over long periods of time, according to a study published in the open access ...

Different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses

November 22, 2017
Different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses, but spirits are most frequently associated with feelings of aggression, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Air pollution linked to poorer quality sperm

November 22, 2017
Air pollution, particularly levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), is associated with poorer quality sperm, suggests research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Sunrise and sunset guide daily activities of city-dwellers

November 21, 2017
Despite artificial lightning and social conventions, the dynamics of daylight still influence the daily activities of people living in modern, urban environments, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.