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Home Industry News National childhood obesity strategy unveiled amid criticism

National childhood obesity strategy unveiled amid criticism

18th August 2016

The government has unveiled a broad-ranging new strategy for tackling childhood obesity on a national scale, although the reception to the plans has not been wholly positive.

Key elements of the plan include the introduction of a new levy on producers of sugary drinks and a push to encourage the food and drinks industry to reduce the sugar content of their products by 20 percent by 2020, with an initial five percent reduction in the coming year.

Other steps include calls for primary schools to help children get at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, with parents and carers called upon to ensure they get the same amount at home.

Additionally, a new voluntary healthy schools rating scheme will be introduced during school inspections, with a clearer system of nutritional labelling for foods and calorie caps for certain products also planned.

Despite the broad scope of the plans, medical organisations and charities have largely expressed disappointment about the strategy, due to the removal of certain ideas proposed at the draft stage, as well as the voluntary nature of most of the measures.

Professor Parveen Kumar, chair of the British Medical Association's board of science, said: "Although the government proposes targets for food companies to reduce the level of sugar in their products, the fact that these are voluntary and not backed up by regulation renders them pointless."

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