Should food be banned on public transport?

Henrietta Strickland
October 10, 2019

Solving Childhood Obesity, a report by Professor Dame Sally Davies, in her role as the previous Chief Medical Officer for England, outlines ten key principles that must underlie further actions to meet this goal.[5] The overwhelming focus is on primary prevention, with a clear message that the government needs to do much more to shape the environments that influence what children eat and determine the opportunities for them to be active.

Professor Davies' recommendation to extend the levy to milk-based drinks supports a United Kingdom government report - released in July just hours before Boris Johnson was announced as Prime Minister - which says it is considering extending the sugar tax to soft drinks.

Before becoming Prime Minister, Mr Johnson has said that the introduction of a milkshake tax would "clobber" those who could least afford afford, warning against "the continuing creep of the nanny state".

But Dame Sally wants the government to go further by extending the tax to cover milk-based drinks.

Davies additionally suggests that all major publicly-funded sporting venues and major sporting events should only advertise and sell low-calorie, low-fat and low-salt and/or sugar products.

- A cap on the maximum calories per serving at food outlets.

Free drinking water should also be available in all takeaways, food shops and restaurants, she proposes. Will it help with the obesity problem?

- Introduce mandatory standards for the nutritional content of foods for children aged under two.

She also pointed to a rise in snacking and a culture in which "excess weight is now often accepted as normal".

Davies stresses that 1.2 million children in the United Kingdom are now clinically obese, with young people suffering Type 2 diabetes, asthma and musculoskeletal pain, as well as mental health problems such as depression. "We can fix childhood obesity but we need the right level commitment to make the healthier choice the easy one".

But the Food and Drink Federation said firms were working hard to cut unhealthy ingredients, and "punitive measures" might hinder their efforts.

But Dame Sally said: "The government ambition is to halve childhood obesity by 2030 - in England, we are nowhere near achieving this".

"We need to rebalance our environment - our politicians need to be bold and help everyone embrace healthier life choices".

And she said more must be done to stop youngsters being "dazzled by companies" offering junk food, saying children are "drowning in a flood of unhealthy food and drink options".

'Unhealthy options appear to flow freely, flooding high streets, shops and checkouts'. In 2017, over £300m was spent on advertising soft drinks, confectionary and sweet and savoury snacks, compared to £16m spent on advertising fruit and vegetables. "Adverts are everywhere, from bus stops to our mobile phones".

"Children have a right to grow up in a healthy environment, but bold and fearless decisions need to be taken to help create this and meet the target of halving childhood obesity by 2030".

Unhealthy foods are big business for advertisers.

"Politicians, I call on all of you across the political spectrum to come together and take action".

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) gave its full support to a number of recommendations made by the CMO.

Responding to the CMO's report, the shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth accused the Government of doing nothing, but "window dress" its commitment to child obesity since it published its Child Obesity Plan over a year ago.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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