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Anti-obesity campaign effectiveness 'limited'

4th September 2009

Primary care policies that aim to reduce obesity among Britain's children are very costly to run and not necessarily very effective, research has shown.

A researcher from the Royal Children's Hospital and Murdoch Research Institute in Melbourne examined the effectiveness of schemes encouraging a new diet and more exercise in Australia.

Lead author of the British Medical Journal study Professor Melissa Wake found no significant differences in the levels of fruit, vegetables or fat intake, or overall activity and nutrition, in study groups subject to anti-obesity scheme interventions.

However, parents polled did notice a drop in the number of soft drinks consumed.

The authors concluded that brief primary care interventions 'produced no long-term improvement in children's body mass index, physical activity or nutrition'.

They added: 'Resources may be better divided between primary prevention at the community and population levels, and enhancement of clinical treatment.'

The study follows the publication of research from the University College London, which indicated that there has been a 15-fold increase in the number of young people being prescribed anti-obesity drugs such as orlistat.

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