Government plans to combat childhood obesity with stricter regulations

The British government is aiming to create new, stricter rules surrounding the promotion and sale of junk food in order to promote healthier living in younger generations

The government plans to tighten its rules and regulations surrounding the sale and accessibility of ‘junk’ food, in an effort to battle obesity – childhood obesity in particular.

New protocols will ensure that sweets, fatty snacks and fizzy drinks will no longer be on display at checkouts and shop entrances, removing some element of temptation.

Parents in particular support the motion as packaging for snacks is often aimed at or appealing to children and placed in plain sight of them, encouraging them to ask for it. Doctors, too, are grateful for their concerns being taken into consideration.

Whether these moves are enough, is under question, but it’s a strong start, according to Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, BMA board of science chair.

She said:

“The government has listened to many doctors’ concerns about how best we tackle the pressing problem of childhood obesity and this next stage of the plan shows the potential to illuminate the path towards a healthier future for generations to come.

“It has been unacceptable that many children grow up with the idea that eating unhealthy processed junk food is normal; children and young people have been subjected to barrages of marketing for sugary, salty and fatty foods.

“This new chapter of the Childhood Obesity Plan recognises that it is increasingly difficult for families to make healthy choices when the amount of calories in the food we buy in high-street cafes isn’t clear, when price promotions incentivise buying unhealthy food in bulk and when children pass countless fast food outlets going to and from school.

“With no time to waste, we hope the government does everything in its power to make this vision a reality. It must ensure that a strong regulatory framework is central to tackling the burden of childhood obesity by limiting commercial influences. The Soft Drinks Industry Levy is already having a positive impact and is a good example of how further legislation could be laid down.”

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