How we live and eat relates strongly to how healthy we are. It links to the number of kilograms on our scales and to the risk of developing chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, at some stage in our lives.

The number of obese individuals and the prevalence of non-communicable diseases have increased dramatically over the past decades, with about 1.4 billion people overweight in 2008. This not only brings along a societal burden of increased health care costs and absence at work, but also personal misery and reduced quality of life. Although we know that diet and lifestyle can be influenced to prevent obesity and the development of disease, it is easier said than done.

Who is responsible for reversing the trend? Letting aside the role of other actors (consumer organisations, food and drink industry, retailers, etc.), is it up to the consumers to change their eating pattern and lifestyle, or is it the government’s responsibility to enforce actions to improve public health?

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