Call for swifter action on childhood obesity
The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) has announced three key actions that it wants the Government to implement in its forthcoming Childhood Obesity Strategy. The actions are to introduce:
- A ban on advertisements before the 9pm watershed for food and drink products that are high in saturated fat, salt and sugar. This should include tightened regulations for online advertisements and services to align with broadcast regulations.
- A 20% tax
- A set of incremental targets for industry to reduce salt, sugar and saturated fat levels in food and drinks. Compliance with these targets should be monitored and non-compliance should be backed by meaningful sanctions.
The OHA announcement comes as concern mounts over delays in publishing the Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy although the Chancellor’s recent budget statement on a new sugar tax in drinks appears to fulfill one of the OHA demands. The Government announced recently that the Strategy will not be finalised until the summer, after the European referendum. With almost two thirds of adults and almost a third of children in the UK overweight or obese, members of the Alliance have warned that every day without an effective strategy in place means that the obesity ‘time bomb’ is ticking, and that opportunities are being missed to protect the health and wellbeing of children and their families.
The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) is a new coalition of 28 national organizations including the BMA, Cancer Research UK and the RCGP which have come together to represent the unified voice of the public health sector on issues relating to overweight and obesity in the UK. The OHA set out a joint statement on the 10 priorities for action at the end of last year.