Childhood Obesity - a plan for action

The UK Government’s report, Childhood Obesity – a plan for action was published yesterday with advice for reducing childhood obesity in England.

The report opens with this introduction:

‘Today nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese, and younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese for longer. Reducing obesity levels will save lives as obesity doubles the risk of dying prematurely.’

We are living in a time when childhood obesity is increasing year by year thanks to sugary foods, fizzy drinks, junk food and the power of advertising.

A few gentle suggestions for childhood obesity…

But instead of coming down hard on advertising, food processing and labelling, this report makes gentle suggestions and recommendations for food companies to make changes like reducing sugar levels, portion sizes and changing food labels, which is all well and good, but processed food is big business and unless there is tougher legislation, they are not going to make significant changes by these gentle suggestions by Teresa May and her team. Advertisers, marketeers and the food industry have won again, at the expense of the health of our nation.

Criticism has been widespread, with Jamie Oliver calling it ‘woeful’ and even the CEO of Sainsbury’s saying the report does not go far enough.

We are feeding our children and young people with sugar, processed foods, fizzy drinks and giving into the idea that children don’t eat vegetables. So how do we expect them to learn about good nutrition, making healthy food choices and basic cooking skills.

In my humble opinion, a lifetime of good health starts at an early age. It is our responsibility as adults to educate and inform our children about looking after their health, and make healthy eating a positive choice.