Part 2 of the government’s plan for action to significantly reduce childhood obesity by supporting healthier choices was published this week.
This publication outlines the actions the government will take towards its goal of halving childhood obesity and reducing the gap in obesity between children from the most and least deprived areas by 2030. Building on the first chapter of the childhood obesity plan, the new measures include proposals to counter ‘pester power’ by preventing stores from displaying unhealthy food at checkouts or including it in buy-one-get-one-free deals.
Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director iHV, commented:
“The Institute of Health Visiting welcomes the tightening of the update plan for Childhood Obesity. It is crucial that the preventative measures outlined are actioned with speed to ensure that all children in the UK are able to thrive and develop to their full potential.
“Tackling the wider factors that impact on obesity is crucial and we applaud the move to target advertising. The need to work across all sectors who provide “food away from home” is crucial and proposals to work with schools are well placed, we trust that these actions will also include early years providers – both state and private nursery provision, as the early years are crucial in the development of healthy weight in the later years.
“Whilst it is not explicitly stated there is a need to ensure that the revised actions have a focus on the early years (0-5 years) as we know from research that the influence of early nutrition and eating patterns is directly correlated with obesity in later years. To support this it will be crucial to consider the early year’s health and social care work force in the development of training proposed in this update.”
The government is calling on industry to recognise the harm that adverts for foods high in fat, sugar and salt can cause. It will consult on introducing new TV and online advertising restrictions to prevent children from being targeted by these unhealthy products, and to incentivise companies to reduce the sugar and calories in the products they sell.
The second chapter of the plan also promotes a new national ambition for every primary school to adopt a daily ‘active mile’ initiative, such as the Daily Mile.