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The prevention of obesity

[The prevention of obesity]

Prevention of obesity

This is a new area which has attracted attention recently because of the dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity. However, it is an area often overlooked by the medical profession. Moreover, it should be a priority in governmental programs and health institutions. There are many ways to achieve prevention:

- Carrying out information campaigns towards the general audience, through the radio, TV or other media. The general population should be educated about the risks of obesity, which are as serious as the risks of smoking or alcoholism. One should insist on the basic rules of eating, such as those explained in the chapter " diet " of this website.
- Developing an education plan in schools according to the same principles. In the US for example, research on obesity prevention among those at high risk is best exemplified in studies on obesity intervention for children. Groups of students at risk have been identified, and volunteers have been enrolled for several years in a program of eating education, adapted physical activities etc. However, there is a poor coordination on a national scale in the US, so that obesity is still a heavy burden. One did not observe more efficiency in Europe.
- Act on collective eating communities like school canteens in order that food should be balanced and advice given.
- Act on the city environment to promote physical activities : for example, limiting the access to escalators. Our transportation system is mainly designed for automobiles, whereas priority should be given to transportation on foot or by bicycle. Improve access to physical activity and reward it.
- Promoting active research on public health and epidemiology, particularly concerning obesity among children.
- Some advise stronger measures, and one can fear that the "epidemic" evolution of obesity in industrialized countries will prove them right:
- Improving the quality of food supply: a regulation should be put in place so that all food packaging specifies calorie density, fat content, or sugar content.
- Controlling advertising or combine commercials with warning messages.
- Taxation policies have a history of use to discourage the consumption of dangerous products, such as tobacco and alcohol. The same could be done for high-calorie products.


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