Childhood obesity has become a growing problem in several countries around the world. The government of the United Kingdom has announced its plans to address obesity in children. However, these plans have been attacked health experts, campaigners and even causing the big boss of one of Britain’s biggest supermarkets to say that the plan did not go far enough.
New Scientist reported that the government’s strategy to address the growing problem of obesity in children is increasing physical activities in schools and a voluntary course of action to push food companies to reduce sugar in their products. However, some people don’t think this is a good way to solve the problem.
The British Medical Association expressed their thoughts on the matter saying that the government changed their mind on the promises they made. The CEO of Sainsbury is also dismayed claiming that the plan did not go far enough, while MP Sarah Wollaston said the plan showed “the hand of big industry lobbyists”, but a minister said it was “ambitious”.
According to BBC News, the plan asked the food and beverage to reduce at least 5 percent of sugar used in their products that are popular with children over the next year. The plan indicated that the ultimate goal is to have a 20 percent sugar cut on products like cereals, desserts, yoghurts and sweets, and Public Health England will monitor the voluntary progress in the next 4 years.
The money raised by taxing sugary drinks will fund breakfast clubs and school sports. The plan also included asking primary schools to allot at least 30 minutes of daily physical activities in school, as well as encourage parents and caregivers to make sure that children get the same amount at home.
Meanwhile, Nicola Blackwood, public health minister said: “This government is absolutely committed to reducing childhood obesity, and one of the best ways to do this is to boost sports in schools.” However, the plans have received a lot of criticisms for not following through on restricting junk food advertisements. “This strategy was meant to be published a year ago, we’ve had a year of delays, and now it has been watered-down to a plan that doesn’t even include marketing restrictions,” says Malcolm Clark, at the Children’s Food Campaign, which is funded by the British Heart Foundation charity, The Guardian reported.
Although the current British Prime Minister Theresa May launched her prime minister campaign by saying that she wanted to tackle the problems in health, she has chosen not to launch the idea of ex-Prime Minister Cameron and staff in Downing Street. The Children’s Food Campaign, a member of the Obesity Health Alliance, a group of charities and health organizations such as the royal colleges, rallied hard for tougher actions to cut junk food price as well as to ban TV adverts for unhealthy food before 9pm, when viewing by children tends to drop off.
“Price promotions were one of the big issues that Public Health England majored on,” said Malcolm Clark of the campaign. “It looks like the government is failing to listen to its own public health experts. “Industry likes to paint us as nanny-statists, but PHE is not a campaigning organization. They have done a very thorough literature review of peer-reviewed evidence and come up with a recommendation on that,” Clark continued.