The plan also seems to imply that the answer to children’s obesity is simply making children more active.Of course, exercise has an important role to play, but Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s Cancer Prevention Expert, explains why it’s not the only solution: Children taking part in sport is unquestionably a good thing – but physical activity isn’t the silver bullet that solves children’s obesity.A plan which doesn’t address junk food marketing will not go far enough to protect our children from a lifetime of poor health outcomes.
Public Health England’s independent review of the evidence – which the Government said would inform its plans to tackle children’s obesity – backs this up, stating: “Available research evidence shows that all forms of marketing consistently influence food preference, choice and purchasing in children.” Thousands of our campaigners are worried about junk food marketing – which is why they’ve put so much time and effort into pushing the Government to tackle it as part of our Junk Free TV campaign.
There is also widespread public support – with three-quarters of adults supporting a ban on junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed.
Today’s announcement is full of warm words with no plans for enforcement.
The plan contains many policies, including improving food in academies and reducing sugar by 20% in foods eaten by children.
The Prime Minister and Health Secretary talked of a “game-changing” strategy and recognised children’s obesity as “a national emergency”. First to Christmas 2015, and then past January and into the New Year.
In the meantime, we made the case for concerted action on obesity and cancer.
Our research has shown that if nothing is done, obesity could cause 670,000 cases of cancer over the next 20 years, plus millions more cases of other diseases.
The children’s obesity strategy was first promised as a manifesto commitment from the Conservative Party before the 2015 General Election.
This measure is very important to reduce rates of children’s obesity – as our research has previously found – and it must be kept.
Children in the UK consume up to three times the maximum amount of sugar they should, and fizzy drinks are their number one source.