BDA welcomes “bold and ambitious” plans to address childhood obesity

The British Dietetic Association has welcomed “bold and ambitious” plans to address childhood obesity.

Senior medial professional Dame Sally Davies has today published an independent report Time to Solve Childhood Obesity that suggests a ban on eating and drinking on public transport, a VAT hike on the unhealthiest foods to subsidise fruit and vegetable and a calorie limit on servings in cafes, restaurants and pubs.

And while the food industry has attacked the plans as “knee jerk”, the BDA has welcomed it, with chair Caroline Bovey saying: “This is a very bold and ambitious set of proposals; a really comprehensive list of many of the key policy changes that are necessary to not only help reduce the rate of childhood obesity, but to improve health and well-being for all children in England.

“The government must seriously consider and take forward these proposals as a matter of priority. Although steps have been taken in Chapters 1 and 2 of the Childhood Obesity Plan, it is clear much more is needed and that some of their policies have not gone far enough. Strengthening marketing restrictions, better support for breastfeeding, addressing portion sizes and significantly bolstering weight management services at all tiers are just some of important suggestions we believe Ministers must take forward.

“Many of these proposals will require not just political will, but resources and money. Public Health budgets have been cut significantly in the past ten years, and the recently promised increases will do very little to fill the significant funding hole that now exists. The government needs to recognise the significant costs that obesity and related conditions have on people’s lives and on the NHS, and that investment will pay substantial dividends in the long term.

“Dame Sally has also clearly identified the wide range of government departments, organisations and others that will need to be involved to develop and implement these policies. We strongly believe that dietitians have the expertise and experience to play a central role in managing childhood obesity, and the British Dietetic Association stands ready to support the government to make this ambitious strategy a reality.”

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