Child Obesity Strategy Derailed?

The strategy to tackle child obesity risks being derailed, a report has found.

The BBC indicated that Britain has one of the highest child obesity rates in Western Europe, with a fifth of 10-11-year-olds obese.

In response, the Government looked to introduce measures like a sugar tax on fizzy drinks back in 2016. In 2018, they promised to reduce the gap in terms of obesity levels in the most and least deprived areas.

Most recently, with the discovery that Covid-19 is more detrimental to those who are obese, bans on unhealthy ‘buy one, get one free’ deals and restrictions on junk food advertising were introduced.

Child obesity levels have fluctuated over the past 25 years, with a peak in 11-15-year-olds at the start of the century of over 40%, while 2-10-year-olds peaked at just over 30% in 2005.

Both have dropped from those heights. But the National Audit Office (NAO) has issued a report highlighting the limited success of government targets over the past two decades.

The NAO head, Gareth Davies, said the government must now act with more urgency to address this growing health and social issue.

The dietitian’s view

That has been echoed by our resident dietitian Dawn Shotton. She called upon the Government to address ‘big gaps’.

“While it is great that progress is planned, there are big gaps in the strategy which needs to be looked at,” she said when debating the Government’s latest push.

“Many of the ideas are commitments that were already made. Unfortunately, some of the detail that health workers need is missing and therefore a better detail on how and when things might be done needs to follow.

“Otherwise, the strategy risks being the equivalent of the emperor’s new clothes.

“Detail, leadership, long-term, sustained and adequate funding and committed action is needed.”