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Lansley faces backlash over obesity plans

By Gareth Iacobucci

Health secretary Andrew Lansley has been hit by fierce criticism from obesity experts over his decision not to impose new regulatory measures on food companies if they agree to pour cash into the Government's public health drive.

In his speech to the UK Faculty of Public Health annual conference, Mr Lansley announced that major food firms will be asked to fund healthy living campaigns, but will not face new legislation on fatty, sugary and salty meals.

The health secretary outlined plans to withdraw investment in the Government's Change4Life campaign, and refocus the agenda towards supporting family and individual responses.

He went on to say that eating Mars Bars, crisps and soft drinks was not a problem as long as they were consumed as part of a healthy diet.

But the National Obesity Forum said it was ‘horror-struck' at Mr Lansley's remarks, and accused the health secretary of kow-towing to big business.

Tam Fry, a board member of the National Obesity Forum, said: ‘This is nothing other than a bare-faced request for cash from a rich food and drink industry to bail out a cash-starved Department of Health campaign.'

‘What the UK desperately needs are people willing to stand up to the food and drink lobby, such as Michelle Obama is doing in her anti-obesity campaign in the US, rather than politicians rolling over on their backs in front of the lobbyists as is apparently happening here.'

Mr Lansley said eating Mars Bars, crisps and soft drinks was not a problem as long as they were consumed as part of a healthy diet Mr Lansley said eating Mars Bars, crisps and soft drinks was not a problem as long as they were consumed as part of a healthy diet

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