Employers called to help in fight against obesity

Employers need to do their bit to tackle obesity in the UK as much as the government and healthcare professionals do, the government has said.

In July health secretary Alan Johnson called for a national movement to tackle the growing problem of obesity. Vilifying fat people was not the answer either, he argued in a speech to the Fabian Society.

“Just as the government has a moral duty to tackle poverty and exclusion, so it also has a duty to address obesity. But this is not a licence to hector and lecture people on how they should spend their lives – not least because this simply won’t work,” he said.

“Tackling obesity requires a much broader partnership, not only with families, but with employers, retailers, the leisure industry, the media, local government and the voluntary sector. We need a national movement that will bring about a fundamental change in the way we live our lives,” he added.

A £75m government-led campaign, called Change4Life, is due to be launched this autumn and could see companies being encouraged to sign up to sets of standards.

Already, in response to Johnson’s call, companies including Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Mars and Nestlé have pledged a package worth more than £200m to encourage people to eat healthily and exercise ahead of the London 2012 Olympics. Also, a consortium of firms headed by the Advertising Association has said it will be offering air space, on-pack messages and cash.

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