Government reviewing anti-obesity strategy which prevents children eating junk

Prime Minister Liz Truss is reviewing the government’s anti-obesity strategy to stop children eating junk food despite almost one in four year six pupils being obese. 

The UK government is considering scrapping its anti-obesity strategy as ministers have ordered an official review of measures that were put in place to discourage people eating junk food. 

girl biting a good by table at daytime

The review is rumoured to put an end to banning sugary products at checkouts, ‘buy one get one free’ deals in shops and restrictions on advertising junk food on TV before the 9pm watershed.   

However, Katherine Jenner, Director of the Obesity Health Alliance has told The Guardian that poor diets, which were a result of lockdown, have led to an increase in child obesity. 

She said: ‘We are deeply concerned by rumours suggesting that the government might drop obesity policies which are designed to put healthy food in the spotlight.’  

According to NHS digital data, the number of children classed as obese when leaving primary school has increased to 25% over the last three years, equating to one in four pupils.  

The Treasury ordered the review and it’s part of Ms Truss’ plan to relieve pressures on businesses and help consumers through the cost-of-living crisis.  

The Department of Health and Social Care have said that considering the current ‘unprecedented global economic situation’ it has commissioned an internal analysis of its obesity policy and will continue to monitor the situation.  

However, the government has stated that it remains committed to helping people live healthier lives and that addressing obesity ‘remains a priority.’  

But, with this in mind Liz Truss also has plans to scrap the sugar tax, which was implemented in 2018, to make products more affordable to families on a lower income.  

But Satu Jackson, CEO of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT), believes this is the wrong decision: ‘Junk food does nothing to ameliorate hunger in households struggling to put food on the table.  

‘Research shows that ultra-processed foods impair appetite control and make people feel hungrier, ultimately driving people to spend more money they don’t have on food.’ 

BANT reported that the current annual cost of obesity in the UK is estimated to be around £58bn, which includes the cost of obesity-related diseases and strain on the health system.  

Photo by MD Duran


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