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Tesco shareholders seek to force vote on tackling obesity - expert comment

Dr Thijs van Rens, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick, said:

"Tesco's shareholders are to be commended for acknowledging their corporate responsibility for this hugely important public health issue.

"Diet-related disease is the main cause of preventable deaths, so what is sold in supermarkets directly affects how long and how healthy people's lives are."

"I very much hope that investors in other large food retailers will follow this example. If, however, they do not and gain a competitive advantage from failing to take their responsibility, then it will be up to the government to step in and level the playing field."

  • Dr van Rens has a longstanding research interest in economics of food and obesity, and the impact of food prices and household income on dietary choices. He served as an academic parliamentary fellow at the Health Select Committee, supporting its 2018 inquiry into the Government’s plans to tackle childhood obesity and leads the Warwick Obesity Network, which develops evidence-based policy and practitioner briefs supporting a new national strategy against obesity.

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