The US Senate has introduced legislation to reduce obesity, particularly among American children and adolescents.

If passed, the US$215m Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity Act would take on the 'significant problems associated with obesity,' mostly by funding measures to encourage better nutrition and more physical activity; this includes federal funding for research and information campaigns.

An estimated 61% of US adults and 13% of children are overweight, resulting in an estimated 300,000 US deaths per year. The Grocery Manufacturers of America's Mary Sophos applauds the bill for not criticising people's willpower or food choices. "It emphasises the promotion of positive programmes that recognise the important balance between diet and exercise."

By Philip Fine, correspondent