New alliance on obesity outlines priorities for action

A new alliance of organisations fighting obesity has outlined ten priorities for Government, retailers and health professionals.

The ground-breaking group launched today includes a variety of organisations from different but related fields, including medical, nursing, charity, and public health. While similar coalitions exist in tobacco control and alcohol harm reduction, this is the first time that so many organisations have agreed to join a coalition on obesity.

We have joined forces to urge the Government to help combat the epidemic of obesity and its costly consequences for the NHS. The Government is expected to publish its Childhood Obesity Strategy in January, which we hope will include our key recommendations set out in our joint position.

Around 30 per cent of children in the UK are obese or overweight. Many will grow into overweight or obese adults at higher risk of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other life-threatening illnesses. The Group says that Government action and legislation is vital to help protect children and families, from sales of food and drink high in fat, salt and sugar that will lead to poor health. More could be done to help parents to make healthier choices and support those already overweight who want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

A joint statement focusing on the ten priorities for action that they want to see included in the Government’s childhood obesity strategy, will be published today on the organisations’ websites, including key recommendations:

  • Robust restrictions on unhealthy food marketing, including a 9pm watershed for TV advertising of junk food

  • Independent set of incremental reformulation targets, backed by regulation for industry to reduce the sugar, saturated fat and salt in our foods

  • The government should introduce a 20 per cent tax on sugary drinks.

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