France fuels obesity fight concerns, new laws proposed

Related tags Nutrition

Fears that French people could reach the obesity levels currently preoccupying US health officials has prompted the country's opposition party to call for new laws to tackle increasing weight gain.

The socialist party, led by Jean-Marie Le Guen, presented a proposal on Tuesday to turn the fight against obesity into a real public health goal.

Le Guen claims that 11-12 per cent of young children in France are obese and this will rise to 20 per cent in the next 20 years.

His party's text recommends some of the measures already proposed in those countries with a greater obesity problem, like the UK and the US. The Socialists say they want to see easily understood nutritional information on food labelling, particularly in regards to calories, sugars, fats and salt.

They also suggest including a health warning on certain products and restriction of TV advertising for junk foods, as well as labelling of calories on foods served in cafeterias.

Consumption of food on-the-go is rising rapidly in France, changing traditional eating habits that focus on balanced meals.

The new proposal calls for a new committee under the health minister that would work with both the public sector and industry to support initiatives although Le Guen did not reveal any kind of time frame for the introduction of new legislation.

The Socialists also recommend that children should have at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

"We are confronted with a major public health problem that affects the health of one French person in five,"​ Le Guen told reporters.

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