The Child Obesity Epidemic: We need tougher measures!

Sally takes a look at the latest measures that have been put in place to tackle childhood obesity, and how important it is that we begin to take notice of this growing epidemic and the dangers of over-consuming sugar. 

We have talked many times about the addictive nature of sugar, and have campaigned for the #SugarTax on sugary drinks and foods. Consumption of sugary drinks is particularly high in school age children, and 1 in 3 children in the UK aged 10-11 are either obese or overweight.Treating obesity and it’s consequences alone currently costs the NHS £5.1bn every year so we need to do something about this epidemic.

Last August, the government set out the Childhood Obesity Plan, which included a sugar tax on soft drinks, but failed to put in place further measures suggested by the Health Select Committee. Public Health England recommend that ‘no single action will be effective in reducing sugar intake’ and have put forward eight additional measures to tackle the epidemic. These are:

  1. Reduce and rebalance the number and type of price promotions in all retail outlets, including supermarkets.
  2. Significantly reduce opportunities to advertise high sugar food and drink products to children and adults.
  3.  Set a clear definition for high sugar foods to aid with the above actions.
  4. Introduce a structured programme of gradual sugar reduction in everyday food and drink products, combined with reduction in portion size.
  5. Introduce a price increase of a minimum of 10% – 20% on high sugar products through the use of a tax or levy on full sugar soft drinks,
  6. Monitor Government buying standards for food and catering service across the public sector to ensure the sale of healthier food and drinks in hospitals & leisure centers etc.
  7. Ensure accredited training and diet and health is delivered to all those who have the opportunity to influence food choices.
  8. Continue to raise awareness and concern around sugar levels in the diet to the public, as well as health professionals, to encourage provide practical steps to help people lower their own and their families sugar intake.

Although the government has said it was implementing ‘the most ambitious plan on childhood obesity in the world’, we want to see further measures put in place to really tackle the child obesity epidemic.