The evolution of policy and actions to tackle obesity in England

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Summary

Tackling obesity has been a policy priority in England for more than 20 years. Two formal government strategies on obesity in 2008 and 2011 drew together a range of actions and developed new initiatives to fill perceived gaps. Today, a wide range of policies are in place, including support for breastfeeding and healthy weaning practices, nutritional standards in schools, restrictions on marketing foods high in fat, sugar and salt to children, schemes to boost participation in sport, active travel plans, and weight management services. Data from annual surveys show that the rate of increase in obesity has attenuated in recent years, but has not yet been reversed. This paper considers the actions taken and what is known about the impact of individual policies and the overarching strategy to tackle obesity in England.

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