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Smaller plates 'to tackle obesity'

A common sense approach, which could include giving children smaller plates at mealtimes, is required to tackle obesity in the UK, a leading health official has said.

The number of people with diabetes in Britain could treble over the next 20 years, the head of Public Health England Duncan Selbie told the Daily Telegraph.

The health chief said he had seen a relatively simple example of how to help prevent children becoming overweight when he met a Manchester mother who had been raised on the idea that one should always clear their plate.

He told the paper: "The child (her son) was overweight at school, and it was a definite problem.

"The prescription was that they brought them smaller plates. The child was back on track: he went on to be ahead of the class."

Mr Selbie said it was an example of common sense.

Figures earlier this month showed th e number of drugs prescribed to treat diabetes has soared by 66.5% in less than a decade.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre said 45.1 million prescription items - including insulin, anti-diabetic drugs and monitoring devices for the condition - were handed out to patients in England last year, an 18 million rise on the number prescribed in 2005/6.

In a wide-ranging interview Mr Selbie also told the Telegraph minimum pricing for alcohol should be introduced and more fizzy drinks should be made sugar-free.

He praised the bans introduced on smoking in public places and in cars with children on board, but added that it is likely smoking in the home in front of children will be looked at next.

Referring to the rise in cases of tuberculosis, Mr Selbie said it was because the UK is such an "open nation".

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