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Time to tackle obesity through public healthcare policies and programmes


29 Sep 2008


Health & Consumers

Overweight- and obesity-related problems, which have assumed "epidemic proportions", were debated by the European Parliament last night (Wednesday). Speaking on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group, Swedish MEP Jens Holm warned against the rapidly increasing consumption of trans-fatty acids.  "This is perhaps good news for some industries, but has been proven bad for health. The time is ripe for a ban on trans-fat acids, which could save the health of many thousands of Europeans and it is now up to the Commission to propose how this ban should be enforced."


MEP Holm said he would also like to see a strategy to lower meat consumption. "Meat consumption is soaring in the world and will double in the coming decades if measures are not taken. This is not good for health, the environment or for animals," he concluded.


Contributing to the debate, Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL, Portugal) stressed that it was important to have "a global and integrated vision of nutrition, overweight and obesity-related problems". She called for policies to ensure that healthy nutrition is available to all and measures to make that "quality farm produce including milk, fruit and vegetables is available locally, at reasonable prices and distributed free to people with few or no resources."


"We need a set of public policies and programmes on health, including information campaigns and health education programmes focusing on nutrition, the promotion of healthy diets and lifestyles, physical education and sport, accessible to the population as a whole, with a particular focus on school children and young people," MEP Figueiredo concluded.


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