Obesity strategy delay

Members of the Obesity Health Alliance, a campaign group which formed last November to tackle obesity, has expressed concern about the increased risks to children’s health caused by the delay of the Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy.

The Government’s strategy has already been delayed for months but the Department of Health has confirmed that it will not be published until the summer of 2016, after the European referendum.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 has set out three key actions that it wants the Government to implement in its Childhood Obesity Strategy so that it is easier for people to make healthier choices and live healthier lives. This includes targets for food manufacturers to reduce the amount of saturated fat, salt and added sugar in their foods, meaningful restrictions to reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food and drink marketing, and a 20% tax on sugar sweetened beverages.

Chris Askew, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, said: “Every day that goes by without tough new measures to deal with the obesity crisis means that more children are going to be at risk of developing serious, and preventable, health conditions in later life such as Type 2 diabetes. Without action we will continue to see high rates of devastating health conditions and increased costs to our already stretched health service.”

Professor John Wass, the Royal College of Physicians’ Special Adviser on Obesity, said: ‘The delay in publishing the strategy is extremely disappointing, and a hugely missed opportunity to save lives, improve patient care and save NHS funds.’

The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) is a new coalition of 28 national organisations which have come together to represent the unified voice of the public health sector on issues relating to overweight and obesity in the UK.

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