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Childhood obesity plan provokes mixed reaction

18 August 2016 by
Childhood obesity plan provokes mixed reaction

The government's long-awaited plan into tackling childhood obesity, published today, has received widespread criticism for failing to get to the heart of the problem.

While Childhood obesity: a plan for action aims to reduce England's rate of childhood obesity within the next 10 years by encouraging the industry to cut the amount of sugar in food and drinks by 20% and primary school children to eat more healthily and stay active, it does not deal with advertising aimed at children or supermarket multi-buy promotions.

Chef and healthy-food campaigner Jamie Oliver said he was "in shock" with what has been left out of the report and questioned why it has been published during the government's summer recess with the prime minister and many of the leading members of the Cabinet on holiday.

Speaking ahead of the publication of the report , Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: "The BHA shares in the government's ambition to combat childhood obesity; however the government should be wary of trying to tackle an issue of this scale with a single silver bullet.

"Manufacturers, distributers and caterers have long been making significant contributions to improve the nutrition of products and provide healthier alternative choices for its customers.

"Ensuring good nutrition and reducing the level of childhood obesity requires a comprehensive approach. We would like to see this effort to tackle childhood obesity be complemented by a stronger emphasis on nutrition and physical exercise in the school curriculum.

"Our industry will continue to work closely with the Department of Health and support the government in our shared ambition to reduce childhood obesity as long as the proposals are practical, workable and likely to be effective."

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) was critical of the proposals to cut sugar in food and drinks.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of ALMR, said: Licensed hospitality is keen to aid the government in its campaign to address public health concerns, but we do not feel that a sugar tax is an effective tool.

"For the majority of customers, eating out is an occasional treat, and pubs and restaurants have worked hard to reformulate menus, reduce calories and provide customers with greater choice and nutritional information."

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