[Prevention of overweight and obesity--the role of government, the food industry and the individual]

Gesundheitswesen. 2010 Jan;72(1):10-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1237737. Epub 2009 Sep 30.
[Article in German]


Obesity is a growing health problem in Germany and other industrial nations. There is an urgent need for action in order to stop this development. Government and food industry, as well as individuals, have to act. Governmental interventions could consist in direct regulation - as in, e. g., regulations on food offered in schools and restrictions on advertising unwholesome nutrition for children, -, or in economic incentives like taxes on unhealthy food and subsidisation of wholesome school food and information (food education, campaigns, food labelling etc.). The government should provide an environment that makes a healthy life style easy. But, at present, governmental interventions are too much focused on personal behaviour and responsibility. The role of the food industry could, for example, consist in clear food labelling and the production of healthy food. Each individual holds a personal responsibility for his or her health, but there are limits to it, like social, financial, biological, and other environmental factors. Especially social factors ought to be considered more seriously. Hence, personal responsibility should only be demanded in an adequate environment.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bioethics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Consumer Advocacy
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Food Industry / ethics*
  • Food Industry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Germany
  • Health Promotion / ethics*
  • Health Promotion / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • National Health Programs / ethics*
  • National Health Programs / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / prevention & control*
  • Paternalism
  • Personal Autonomy*
  • Primary Prevention / ethics*
  • Primary Prevention / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Social Responsibility