Unaffordable healthy food blamed for obesity

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More needs to be done to tackle obesity by making healthy food affordable to the poor, experts said.

They spoke after a global study found rates of obesity among children and teenagers have soared 10-fold around the world in the past four decades.

And in Blackpool, which has some of the most deprived areas of the country, more than a third of 11-year-olds and a quarter of reception-age children are now classed as overweight or obese.

The council has previously announced measures to tackle the epidemic, including providing healthier options in the poorer areas and reducing sugary drinks in vending machines.

Professor Majid Ezzati, who helped carried out the new study, said: “While there have been some initiatives led by governments, communities or schools to increase awareness about childhood and adolescent obesity, most high-income countries have been reluctant to use taxes and industry regulations to change eating and drinking behaviours to tackle child obesity

“Most importantly, very few policies and programmes attempt to make healthy foods such as whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables affordable to poor families.

“Unaffordability of healthy food options to the poor can lead to social inequalities in obesity and limit how much we can reduce its burden.”

Obesity in Blackpool is growing at a rate faster than the national average.

Nobody at Blackpool Council was available for a comment yesterday.