The government has launched what has been described as the “most ambitious plans yet” in the national fight against obesity with Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, claiming, “the new measures will halve childhood obesity by 2030.”
Building upon measures that have already been put in place to try and halt the downward spiral of obesity figures, the Department of Health and Social Care released their new proposals over the weekend. Steve Brine, Public Health Minister, explained, “one in three children are now overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school. Overconsumption, combined with reduced activity, is having a catastrophic effect on our children’s health.”
With fast food advertisement prevalent across the country, the government will consult on limiting online and digital marketing strategies, including a possible advertisement watershed before 9pm. Such a proposal has been a feature of TV chef Jamie Oliver’s #AdEnough campaign.
There is also likely to be numerous changes made in supermarkets. Following the introduction of the Sugar Tax levy, where manufacturers are fined if they do not cut levels of sugar in products and the resulting funds are given to schools for PE and school sport, there is likely to be a ban on buy-one-get-one-free offers for unhealthy products. Proposals are also likely to be extended on the sale of highly-caffeinated drinks, with many containing more caffeine in a standard can than the recommended allowance for a primary school child.
Eating out could also change. Calorie counts on menus for takeaways, restaurants and cafes are likely to be made compulsory for all establishments within this bracket.
There will also continue to be a focus on physical health within the school environment. Funding will be provided for Living Street’s Walk to School project, an initiative also promoted by Evolve Health Mentors through inventive ideas such as the Walking Bus. Bikeability cycling training and activities similar to the Daily Mile will also be promoted within school environments.
We would like to hear from you on this. Will the measures halve childhood obesity by 2030? Are they too ambitious? Should other changes be made? Tweet us on @Evolve_Impact to join the debate.