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Changes to built environment may tackle obesity

Experts believe that the built environment in which people grow up has a major impact on whether they lead an active life and is therefore a factor in the rising tide of obesity in many developed countries.

Presenting evidence at an Association for the Study of Obesity conference, obesity experts say that changes to our built environment may help to tackle the problem by enabling people to lead a more active lifestyle.

A number of speakers are presenting data on how the environment affects obesity, including Hugo Crombie from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), who will speak about the institute's recent guidance on creating environments that encourage and support physical activity.

According to Dr Amelia Lake, a public health nutritionist at Newcastle University, there is no single solution to the current obesity epidemic.

"Alongside action to address individual behaviours, we urgently need to examine and change the environments that we live in," she insisted.

Dr Lake added that the re-launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity should help to build on the measures in the recent Foresight report on obesity "to make the places we live and work more conducive to a healthy lifestyle".
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