MPs slam Government in action over rise in UK childhood obesity

25 January 2007 by
MPs slam Government in action over rise in UK childhood obesity

The Government has been too slow to react to growing levels of childhood obesity, an MP's report has warned.

The Commons public accounts committee said that despite a target to stop the increase of obesity among under-11s by 2010, little concrete action has been taken.

It also warned that there remains a lack of co-ordination across departments and called for the appointment of a high-profile leader to champion the issue.

Edward Leigh, MP, chairman of the committee, said: "The extent to which children in this country are obese is alarming. It is lamentable that, long after the target was set, there is still so much dithering and confusion and still so little co-ordination."

Dr Ian Campbell, medical director of Weight Concern, agreed: "What's missing is a national umbrella organisation that will bring to task the Government departments because there are too many people working in isolation."

The committee also criticised the Government's attempts to work with the food industry to stop the marketing of unhealthy foods to children and said that it has failed to properly engage parents with the issue of childhood obesity.

However, public health minister Caroline Flint said that an enormous amount had been achieved, pointing to the labelling on food packaging and Ofcom's recommendation on limiting junk food advertising to children.

"We will monitor the impact of the changes and are committed to taking further action if necessary," said Flint.

Family-friendly restaurants still pushing junk food on kids, says Soil Association >>

Fast-food ads banned from children's magazines >>

Government pledges £240m more for school meals >>

For more on healthy eating click here >>

By Kerstin Kühn

E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.

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