BHF join alliance to tackle obesity

30 November 2015        

Junk food tieing up children

We have joined sixteen other organisations have joined forces to form a national alliance, the Obesity Stakeholder Group, that is today calling on the Government to implement a ten point plan for tackling the UK’s growing obesity crisis.

The ground-breaking group launched today includes a variety of organisations from different but related fields, including medical, nursing, charity, and public health. 

We have joined forces to urge the Government to help combat the epidemic of obesity and its costly consequences for the NHS. The Government is expected to publish its Childhood Obesity Strategy in January, which we hope will include our key recommendations set out in our joint position.

Around 30 per cent of children in the UK are obese or overweight. Many will grow into overweight or obese adults at higher risk of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other life-threatening illnesses.Government action and legislation is vital to help protect children and families, from sales of food and drink high in fat, salt and sugar that will lead to poor health. We believe more should be done to help parents to make healthier choices and support those already overweight who want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

The announcement comes as a report is published today by members of the Health Select Committee recommending changes to the way junk food is marketed and the introduction of a sugary drinks tax.

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This group represents the expert view on how to tackle the UK’s growing obesity crisis. The Government must now listen to these ten recommendations and create a robust Childhood Obesity Strategy to protect the long-term health of future generations. Only by introducing a range of measures to crack down on the irresponsible practices of junk food companies can we give families a fairer chance of making informed decisions about their heart health.” 

“Today’s Health Select Committee report also shows that the Government can’t ignore the evidence and widespread support for creating a childhood obesity strategy that bans junk food advertising before 9pm and taxes sugary drinks that put children’s future health at risk”

10 point plan

A joint statement focusing on the ten priorities for action that they want to see included in the Government’s childhood obesity strategy, will be published today, including key recommendations:

  • Robust restrictions on unhealthy food marketing, including a 9pm watershed for TV advertising of junk food
  • Independent set of incremental reformulation targets, backed by regulation for industry to reduce the sugar, saturated fat and salt in our foods
  • The government should introduce a 20 per cent tax on sugary drinks.

The Obesity Stakeholder Group represents a range organisations including the UK Health Forum, Diabetes UK, Cancer Research UK, Children's Food Campaign, the Royal College of General Practitioners, The Jamie Oliver Food Foundatoin and the British Medical Association.

Read our joint statement on childhood obesity (PDF)