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Thu 23 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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UK doctors call for dramatic obesity action

British doctors have called for dramatic action to fight childhood obesity after issuing a report saying about one million Britons under the age of 16 were obese.

British doctors have called for dramatic action to fight childhood obesity, including a ban on some vending machines, after issuing a report saying about one million Britons under the age of 16 were obese.

Machines selling unhealthy foods should be banned, as should adverts for "junk food" aimed at children, while school meals should adhere to strict guidelines, the British Medical Association recommended.

It said if current trends continued, at least a fifth of British boys and a third of girls would be obese by 2020.

Experts say junk food and low exercise levels, combined with the popularity of computer games and television, are behind the growing obesity rates.

It is estimated that about 10 percent of children or at least 155 million youngsters worldwide are overweight or obese. The BMA's report "Preventing Childhood Obesity" said that globally 22 million children under 5 were severely overweight.

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