What happened to the UK Obesity Strategy?

Scotland’s Food Commission set’s out plan to change the countries diet habits at the same time UK Government delays Obesity Strategy

Last week an encouraging report was set out by the Food Commission. Looking at the eating habits across the country, it argues that Scotland’s attitude towards food is in need of a radical overhaul. The Commission has set out key areas to be addressed in order for the country to be considered a good food nation by 2025, calling for a “nationwide movement for change”.

“Every Scot should have healthy and nutritious food readily available to them, diet-related diseases should be in decline and the environmental impact of food consumption and production should be reduced”  according to Shirley Spear, who chairs the commission.

Scotland’s bad relationship with food has been so well documented it’s almost a cliche, and our poor diet has resulted in high levels of preventable diseases, earning us the term the ‘sick man of Europe’.

An overhaul of our diet is welcome then.

However, at a the same time, the UK has delayed their Obesity Strategy once again. The findings will now not be published until the summer – and campaigners say it is unlikely to include a sugar tax.

Public Health England’s document on sugar reduction, published in October 2015, described how food price promotions are more widespread in the UK than anywhere else in Europe and how high-sugar products are promoted more than others.

The news from the ministry has angered health charities and campaigners, who say there is an urgent need for action. Cancer Research UK has accused the government of failing children:

“David Cameron has called childhood obesity a crisis and yet the government has failed the next generation by stalling on one of it’s own health priorities. 

While the government delays, more children will become obese. To help prevent thousands of cancer cases we want a ban of junk food ads during family viewing times, a sugary drinks tax and more sugar taken out of food. The future health of our children depends on strong action right now

Professor Russell Viner, of the Royal College of Child Health, said;

Every day that passes, more children are at risk of developing serious conditions associated with obesity. These include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma. Yet another delay in the publication of the government’s childhood obesity strategy gives great cause for concern.”

So while it’s refreshing to see change and innovation at Scottish level, the lack of action from the UK government is worrying. We need to change the dietary habits across the country to improve our health, wellbeing and happiness. People can make these changes themselves without the help of the government. But the government could take the lead and help change our diets and lower the rate of preventable diseases. 

To read more about the Scottish Food Commission – Here

To read more about the UK Obesity Strategy and Sugar Tax Campaign :

It’s National Obesity Awareness Week and now more than ever we need action.