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Increasing human longevity represents a scientific and public health triumph of the modern era. However, threats to this advancement have emerged in the form of new diseases resulting from modern technology and patterns of living. Chief among these threats is the rapid rise in the prevalence of obesity.

Tackling population-level obesity is complicated by a number of factors including:

* The existence of multi-level governance structures on issues related to obesity ranging from the global, to European, national, regional and local.
* The reluctance to adopt interventions that could be seen to be impinging on the rights of freedom of choice of individuals, particularly on their lifestyles.

In most of the existing literature on obesity, what is written about UK policies tends to reflect policies that exist in England and there is very little mention of policies that may exist in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The purpose of the research was to review and comparatively analyze the existing national policies targeted against obesity in the four regions in order to gain a better understanding of how obesity is being tackled throughout the UK.

This report was made possible by the generous support of Pfizer.

Author: Primrose Musingarimi, Senior Researcher, ILC-UK

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