Tuesday 25 June 2019 / 12:01 AM Health / Sharon Hodgson

Progress on tackling childhood obesity moving at ‘snail’s pace’

One year after the government announced its second Childhood Obesity Plan, Labour reveals that deadlines for four of the six policy consultations have been missed.

The plan committed to consult on six policies “by the end of 2018” as part of efforts to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

However, only two policy consultations – on energy drinks and calorie labelling – met that deadline. In addition, the government is yet to make any announcement or implement any new legislation as a result of the consultations.

The UK has one of the worst childhood obesity rates in Western Europe, with around one third of children aged two to 15 overweight and obese, with rates highest in the most deprived groups.

To help tackle the childhood obesity crisis, the next Labour government will restrict the sale of energy drinks to under 16s, introduce a 9pm watershed for foods high in fat, salt and sugar, and give local councils the funding they desperately need to fulfil their vital public health responsibilities.

Sharon Hodgson MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Public Health, 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.

“That is why I am calling on the government to urgently implement policies that could help address the childhood obesity crisis. Our children cannot wait any longer.”