Campaigners react to obesity plan review

Leading health charities have urged the government to reconsider any plans to weaken or reverse policies that will help tackle obesity.

Rumours that the government could scrap its entire obesity strategy have intensified following reports last week that ministers had ordered an official review of measures designed to deter people from eating HFSS (high in fat, sugar and salt) foods. 

Industry groups have been pushing for the regulatory burden on businesses to be eased, forcing campaigners to step in and write an open letter to Liz Truss, the prime minister.

“We strongly urge you to reconsider any plans to weaken the public health measures,” the letter coordinated by the Obesity Health Alliance reads. “[…] we think it should be easy for everyone to eat healthily, especially children. But it clearly isn’t: in an average class of 30 year-six children, 12 will be living with overweight or obesity. You can make it easier for them to have a healthy, productive future.”

Diabetes UK, the British Medical Association, the Royal Society for Public Health, Sustain and ShareAction are among the 70 charities, medical organisations and health professionals to have signed the letter.

The group also highlights the soft drinks industry levy as an example of a “smart, effective and longstanding policy that has benefited both businesses and those on lower incomes”. 

Campaigners are worried that a ban on volume promotions and the prominent positioning of these foods could be reversed along with restrictions on advertising certain products on TV before the 9pm watershed. 

Even a law requiring calorie labelling on menus, which has only been in effect since April, could be scrapped according to the latest reports and rumours.

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