Government slack in fat attack

The government is doing too little to combat rising levels of obesity in the Dutch population, Paul Rosenmöller of the steering group set up two years ago to counter the rise, told the Volkskrant on Friday.

‘I hear plenty of words [from politicians], but too few deeds’ said the former GroenLinks leader who is now chair of the Stuurgroep Convenant Overgewicht (SCO), an alliance between government, private sector and sporting world.
‘Even industry is leading the way, with initiatives like the ‘ik kies bewust’ (conscious choice) logo and innovations to produce products with less fat, sugar and salt,’ he said.
‘The business world is taking more responsibility, but in The Hague attention is more focused on smoking, drugs and alcohol than obesity – the assassin of our times.’
Nearly half of Dutch adults are overweight, and the number of obese children has doubled in ten years to one-in-eight. The SCO aims to prevent further growth in adult obesity figures and reduce the number of children who are overweight by 2010.
It is not just the job of the health ministry; all ministries should accept their responsibility for tackling obesity, said Rosenmöller.
For example, education should place more emphasis on knowledge about diet and making the provision of sufficient exercise compulsory, and the housing ministry needs to ensure all neighbourhoods have safe cycle paths and plenty of playgrounds, he suggested.

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