CSP chief criticises inadequate obesity strategy

CSP chief executive Karen Middleton has accused the government of launching a childhood obesity strategy that is inadequate and insufficient.

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A third of children aged two to 15 are overweight or obese

‘This plan falls woefully short of providing the coherent and comprehensive action that the obesity crisis requires,’ she said.

The strategy aims to tackle growing physical inactivity and overeating among under 18-year-olds in England.

It highlights the introduction of a UK-wide sugar tax on the food and drink industry, announced by the then chancellor, George Osborne, in March. A Department of Health spokesperson told Frontline that it expects the tax to raise £520 million in 2018/19.

The revenue will fund programmes to reduce obesity and encourage exercise and balanced diets for school age children.

While Ms Middleton welcomed this commitment she said that it would be ‘seriously undermined’ by cuts to local authority public health budgets.

A third of children aged two to 15 are overweight or obese and are at risk of suffering health problems later in life, according to data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Public health minister Nicola Blackwood cited the inspiration of British athletes at the Rio Olympics and the example of St Ninians primary school in Stirling where all children run or walk a mile to every day during school hours.

She said: ‘Initiatives like this will make a huge difference to children’s health and fitness and we hope our new measures on school sport will help create future Team GB Olympians.’

 

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by Gill Hitchcock

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