PANEL: More gov’t regulation is the answer for obesity fight

America’s obesity epidemic is so deeply rooted that it will take dramatic and systemic measures – from overhauling farm policies and zoning laws to, possibly, introducing a soda tax – to fix it, the influential Institute of Medicine said on Tuesday.

In an ambitious 478-page report, the IOM refutes the idea that obesity is largely the result of a lack of willpower on the part of individuals. Instead, it embraces policy proposals that have met with stiff resistance from the food industry and lawmakers, arguing that multiple strategies will be needed to make the U.S. environment less “obesogenic.”

The IOM, part of the National Academies, offers advice to the government and others on health issues. Its report was released at the Weight of the Nation conference, a three-day meeting hosted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cable channel HBO will air a documentary of the same name next week.

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