Childhood obesity strategy delayed again!

The decision to postpone publishing a strategy on childhood obesity again is ‘completely unacceptable’, according to the British Medical; Association (BMA).

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has chosen to again delay the long-awaited report until the autumn, despite the NHS chief executive, Simon Stevens, urging the Government to act on the issue.

Doctors hoped the strategy would include strong restrictions on junk-food advertising and stop supermarkets and shops placing sweets next to checkouts. However, a leaked draft report suggested some of these measures would be either abandoned or watered down, and that any report would have to wait until at least September when Parliament reconvenes.

  • One in 10 children are obese when they start primary school – a figure that rises to one in five by the end of the primary years. (Health and Social Care Information Centre figures)
  • Figures released in June suggest there are more than 500 children in England and Wales now diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Professor Kumar of the BMA stated: ‘Doctors are increasingly concerned about the impact of poor diet, which causes up to 70,000 deaths a year and has a greater impact on the NHS budget than alcohol consumption, smoking and physical inactivity combined.’

‘Overweight children become overweight adults, and are far more likely to develop conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. It is vital for the health of our next generation that the Government produces a robust and forward-thinking strategy with targets, backed up by legislation, which work to reduce the amount of sugar, saturated fat and salt in our food. It must restrict junk-food marketing that targets children, and should implement its promised sugar tax on soft drinks.

‘The Government’s strategy was due to be published a year ago – every day that it is delayed is a day that the Government is letting our children down.’

A spokesman for the Department of Health said the Government was ‘absolutely committed to tackling public health challenges’.