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Keywords:

  • Civil society;
  • government;
  • non-communicable disease;
  • policy;
  • prevention

Summary

This paper is written as a briefing document with the aim of providing support to policy-makers and government officials tackling obesity and related non-communicable diseases. It is based on a symposium Obesity and non-communicable diseases: Learning from international experiences1 convened by the International Association for the Study of Obesity (now the World Obesity Federation) and its policy section, the International Obesity TaskForce (now World Obesity – Policy and Prevention). The symposium discussed a wide range of proposals to tackle the consumption of unhealthy food products, including interventions in the market through fiscal policies and marketing restrictions, measures to strengthen public health legislation and measures to limit agri-food company lobbying activities. It recognized the need for government leadership and action in order to reduce preventable deaths while improving economic performance and identified a need for governments to take a systems wide approach to tackling obesity and to work with civil society, especially to monitor the drivers of disease and to hold all stakeholders accountable for progress.