Obesity Health Alliance, of which CLDF is a member, have been actively calling on the government to reduce obesity by prioritising related initiatives and strategies. Today, the government announced it is launching a new obesity strategy, aimed at improving the health of both children and adults. The announcement includes significant progress in a number of areas:
- A 9pm watershed on HFSS (food and drink products high in fat or salt or sugar) adverts on TV and online
- Restrictions on multi-buy and location promotions of HFSS in retailers and online
- Calorie labelling in large OOH (out of home e.g. restaurants, cafes, bars) outlets
- Consultation on front of pack (FOP) food labelling
CLDF is concerned about the growing numbers of children at risk of being diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). As gradual weight loss and regular exercise can reduce the amount of fat in the liver, CLDF is fully supportive of any programmes which encourage healthy eating and exercise regimes. We are also strongly in favour of those which discourage excessive consumption of sugary and fatty foods so welcome this new obesity strategy.
Furthermore, over the last few months we have seen that being overweight or living with obesity puts you at greater risk of serious illness from coronavirus. This indicates an even greater need for prioritisation.
It is great to hear steps will be taken to shape the marketing of food and drinks to children. Research shows that exposing children to unhealthy food adverts can increase the amount of food they eat and shape their preferences from a young age.
This strategy is an important foundation to build on and we are looking forward to seeing the progress, in particular, of programmes to reduce childhood obesity.
You can read the full policy paper here.