Childhood Obesity: An Opportunity Missed

Childhood Obesity: An Opportunity Missed

Today (18th August 2016) has seen the release of the much anticipated Childhood Obesity Strategy, an opportunity for the Government to make a powerful commitment to improving the health of millions of children and families across the UK, both now and in years to come. Unfortunately, what we have is a diluted “plan” which, other than a commitment to the 2018 sugar levy promises very little action to improve our children’s health.

Food Active was set up in 2013 on the back of a previous weak commitment from Government to improve the population’s health. Without a clear, inspiring and bold strategy we are at risk of losing motivation among people on the ground to address a problem which is spiralling out of control.

The plan has a distinct lack of any action to tackle marketing or promotions – not even the prospect of a consultation, which had been raised in earlier versions of the strategy. In fact, much of the evidence Public Health England provided to include in the plan has been omitted. This along with the questionable timing, given it has been released when the PM and Health Secretary are both on holiday, has led to serious questions about the Government’s commitment.

Robin Ireland, Director of Food Active said:

“Now, more than ever, it is important for local authorities to put in place measures to improve the health of their residents locally. The local authority declaration on healthy weight as pioneered by Blackpool allows councils to secure a commitment to align existing and new polices and services to promote and support a whole-systems approach to tackling excess weight.

The Childhood Obesity Plan highlights the influence that industry has on Government, so let’s make a pledge together to address these issues at a local level, through well-thought-out planning and infrastructure, considered partnerships and sponsorship, and by protecting residents from the commercial pressures and vested interests of industry.”

A link to the plan can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/546588/Childhood_obesity_2016__2__acc.pdf



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