Forthcoming Obesity Strategy – Helen Clark says It’s “Glass Half Full”

The APPG’s Lead Author, Helen Clark, has welcomed ‘noises off’ about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s forthcoming Obesity Strategy; predicted for imminent unveiling.

As a candidate for the Conservative leadership, Boris Johnson stated his opposition to ‘sin taxes’ on food. This was in direct contradiction to his Conservative predecessors, David Cameron and Theresa May who had presided over a two-stage National Child Obesity Strategy and introduced the highly successful sugar tax.

Mr Johnson’s time in an intensive care war as a Covid-19 patient prompted a volte-face, following research findings that overweight/obese patients were at greater risk from coronavirus.

The new Obesity Strategy is expected to:

  • Ban the advertising of ‘junk’ foods on TV prior to the 9pm watershed
  • Ban the promotion of foods high in salt, saturated fats and sugar in supermarkets
  • Banning ‘BOGOF’ – ‘Buy One Get One Free’ in supermarkets

Helen Clark welcomed the imminent announcements, saying:

If pre-publicity is correct, we regard it as ‘a glass half full.’

The APPG has campaigned since 2014 for ALL of the above measures and welcome them – alongside the Prime Minister’s own admission that obesity is a national problem and must be addressed as of urgency. His nasty brush with Covid-19 has shown that being ‘a fatty at fifty’ is not a good health plan!

There are other items that should be included in the food and nutrition strategy – but it would be churlish to react to this news with the equivalent of ‘smacked wrist and ‘could do better.’

What is predicted IS good and would be even more effective in tandem with twin-track physical activity measures that:

  • Promotes a child’s right to PLAY. Play is inexpensive, inclusive, effective and FUN. It can involve ALL the family as new Dad Johnson will learn
  • Support physical activity for all; from the ante-natal period and Early Years stage onwards
  • Re-align a modern strategy for Physical Education. Not everybody thrives on competitive sport but PE is diverse and inclusive.

I hope that the Prime Minister will build upon his good start by addressing the above measures. We have argued for them in our published reports and hope that he and his team will find them useful.

As a critical friend, the APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood wishes the UK Prime Minister the very best of success.

We really DO need a National Obesity Strategy that is ‘world-beating’!’

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