Food for thought for manufacturers

The Brainjuicer studies (Factfile, MW August 12) raise interesting insights into attitudes towards obesity. When respondents to the second survey were asked to rate ideas, “the most popular involved a shake up of the food industry.”

It seems illogical to then conclude that the message for food manufacturers is they could do themselves a lot of good by promoting and supporting exercise, “as a healthy counterweight to our ever-increasing appetites”.

There is little point canvassing opinion if you do not appear to hear what is being said. Respondents to these surveys are raising many issues, and supporting a range of solutions.

Some of these, such as controls on advertising to children and reductions of fat, sugar and salt in foods, may present uncomfortable challenges to the food and ad industries, but ignoring these ideas is not an option.

They must be addressed as part of a comprehensive response to the obesity problem by government, industry, schools, the health services and individuals.

The authors should heed the warning arising from their own research: “There is a growing feeling the Government should step in if action is not forthcoming from food manufacturers, which often seem to sidestep the issue.”

Jane Landon

Policy director

National Heart Forum

London WC1

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