RSPH backs Health Committee calls for hard-hitting action by food industry to tackle childhood obesity crisis

RSPH has firmly backed recommendations made by the Health Select Committee in its much anticipated report on childhood obesity. At the heart of the report is a focus on food, with calls for strict controls on the promotion, advertising, formulation and labelling of unhealthy food as well as a tax on sugary drinks. With 1 in 5 children leaving primary school obese, RSPH believes the implementation of the recommendations made by the Health Select Committee will be vital in reducing the significant levels of childhood obesity in the UK.

Many of the recommendations echo RSPH’s own report released earlier this month looking at ways in which we can tackle the UK’s childhood obesity epidemic. The report also coincides with the launch of a joint position statement on childhood from the Obesity Stakeholder Group, of which RSPH is a founding member.

Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive RSPH, said: “The Government needs to be brave and decisive on the issue of childhood obesity to ensure today’s children do not become a burden on tomorrow’s NHS. It is welcome that the Health Select Committee have identified that the food industry has a significant role to play in tackling the childhood obesity epidemic, and it would be unacceptable for it to shirk its responsibilities now. We need tough action on pricing, reformulation and promotion for unhealthy food and drink, particularly those high in sugar. We can’t shrug off the most pressing public health challenge facing us.”

“We also believe it’s time inexcusable health inequalities condemning the poorest children in society to a much greater chance of suffering from obesity were eradicated. Only by tackling childhood obesity head on with wide ranging and effective measures can we hope to offer children the best start in life and give them every opportunity to live long and healthy lives, regardless of which postcode they are born in.”

The Health Select Committee report and further details can be found here.

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