Labour accuses Government of moving at ‘snail’s pace’ on tackling childhood obesity

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The Government has missed deadlines for four of the six policy consultations outlined in the second Childhood Obesity Plan, which was introduced a year ago, Labour claims today.

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The Government is accused of failing to deliver on its pledges to take action on childhood obesity, including a consultation on banning the promotion of unhealthy food and drink at supermarket checkouts

In the plan, published a year ago today (25 June 2018) there was a commitment to consult on six policies by the end of 2018, as part of efforts to halve childhood obesity by 2030. 

However, just two policy consultations – on energy drinks and calorie labelling - have taken place. The Government is also yet to make any announcement or implement any new legislation as a result of the consultations. 

The six actions that were due before the end of 2018 are:

  1. Ban the sale of energy drinks to children - MET
  2. Ban advertising of high fat and sugar products before 9pm watershed - NOT MET
  3. Ban the promotion of unhealthy food and drink at supermarket checkouts, as well as price promotions or unlimited refills of unhealthy food and drink. - NOT MET
  4. Plans to use healthy start vouchers to provide additional support to low-income families who are at greater risk of obesity. - NOT MET
  5. Introduce legislation to mandate consistent calorie labelling - MET
  6. Strengthen nutrition standards in the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services. - NOT MET

A such, Labour has accused the Government of not taking ‘serious action’ on tackling the obesity ‘crisis’. 

sharon-hodgson-newShadow minister for public health Sharon Hodgson (right) said, ‘While the health secretary has been distracted by the leadership contest and his Government’s botched Brexit negotiations, it is our children who suffer because of the Conservatives’ snail’s pace progress on tackling childhood obesity. 

‘It does not take seven months to analyse the feedback from a consultation and announce a policy; especially when it is a policy that campaigners and Labour have been calling for and have evidence to back up. 

‘One year on since the plan was published, the Government’s so-called commitment to childhood obesity remains mere window dressing. So it is no surprise that childhood obesity is still at a record high. 

‘There is no silver bullet to childhood obesity, but the Government isn't taking any serious action to tackle the crisis this country faces.’ 

The Government has been contacted for a response.

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