Asking individuals to eat healthy food and exercise is not enough to tackle the global obesity epidemic, say experts in the British Medical Journal.
They say that a call for wider action is needed to tackle the unequal social distribution of obesity within and between countries.
Unless food subsidies, advertising, urban planning, employment and social structure are addressed, the obesity epidemic will persist and increase, they say.
However, the need for wider policy action is being recognised. The World Health Organization's global strategy on diet, physical activity and health has identified the social determinants of the obesity epidemic.
The recent UK Foresight Report has also highlighted the societal issues that drive obesity and therefore require societal responses.
But despite these efforts, the BMJ experts say that the obesity epidemic requires concerted action at global, national and local levels to promote the equal distribution of affordable nutritious food.
They conclude that the health professions are key to spearheading such efforts.