The National Children’s Bureau has joined other organisations in criticising the government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy, arguing that there is not enough focus on utilising local health professionals or tackling aggressive marketing tactics.
The two main pillars of the strategy are putting a greater emphasis on physical activity in schools and a proposed sugar tax on soft drinks, due to be introduced in 2018. The government also hopes that manufacturers will commit to reducing the sugar content of foods such as cereals, sweets and breads by 20 per cent over the next five years.
NCB chief executive Anna Feuchtwang said that while a sugar tax and reducing sugar content would help greater numbers of children to eat healthily, any money raised through taxation “must be used to shore up recent cuts in public health spending so we can encourage more children to understand how the food they eat affects their health”; there is no provision for this in the Childhood Obesity Strategy.
Ms Feuchtwang also commented that the government could do more to “fully utilise health professionals like health visitors and nurses” and to “control how advertising and promotions are used to entice children and their families to choose unhealthy foods”.