3.28 million school-aged children in the UK predicted to be overweight or obese by 202510 October 2016
Tomorrow is World Obesity Day, and today the British Dietetic Association pushes for junk free checkouts as new figures from the World Obesity Federation indicate that 3.28 million school aged children in the UK will be overweight or obese by 2025. On current trends, obesity-related diseases will increasingly affect school-children, including 43,000 with type 2 Diabetes and 296,000 with hypertension by 2025.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA), founded in 1936, is the professional association and trade union for dietitians (the only legally regulated nutrition professionals) in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 8,500 members.
Obesity specialists from the BDA say urgent action is needed to stop this public health crisis becoming worse. They have called for supermarkets and non-food retailers to either permanently remove unhealthy snacks from checkouts and queuing areas voluntarily, or for government to impose legislation to force businesses to do so.
The BDA has already expressed its disappointment at the recently published, watered down Childhood Obesity Strategy, which did not include key policies such as a ban on junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed and regulation of price promotions on unhealthy food.
- Calls on government to strengthen its plan for action to include areas such as regulation of advertising and price promotions.
- Calls on government to better recognise the important role of dietitians, other healthcare professionals and education programmes in preventing and reducing childhood obesity.
- Continues to support the implementation of the Sugar Levy.
- Encourages industry to reformulate its products rather than campaigning against the Sugar Levy.
Speaking on behalf of the BDA, obesity specialist Lucy Turnbull said:
“Unplanned calories from foods high in fat and sugar purchased at checkouts contribute towards poor diet and poor health, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes, which may lead to premature death. Eating sugary or acidic food and drink also directly contributes to tooth damage.
“Far too many retailers are unwilling to stop pushing unhealthy food at the checkout and queuing areas. It may be lucrative for them but it is deeply unpopular with customers and nudges purchasing behaviour in the wrong direction. If retailers can’t act on their own, then we hope to see robust action from the government to tackle this problem.”
World Obesity Day is an annual awareness raising event. Find out more: http://www.worldobesity.org/what-we-do/action-initiative/aiprogrammes/world-obesity-day/
Further resources: The Junk Free Checkouts campaign (www.junkfreecheckouts.org) aims to give shoppers a number of easy ways, both in store and online, of highlighting what is being sold at checkouts and in queuing aisles, and pressing the case for change at the till.
For more information / interview requests, please contact the BDA Press Office on: 0800 048 1714
Notes to the editor:
- Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.
- Dietitians provide the nutrition expertise required at each life stage, during pregnancy, post pregnancy, in early years, breastfeeding, introduction of solids, start of school, transitions, and adolescence through to adulthood. Dietitians recognise that each of these stages has a huge impact on physical development and mental wellbeing, and can influence the weight of a child through to their adult life, and also the risk of developing long-term diseases such as CVD, diabetes and some cancers. As well as this, dietitians also recognise that individual behaviours and food choices can be influenced by environmental factors such as the prominence of unhealthy foods.
- Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be statutorily regulated, and governed by an ethical code, to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Dietitians work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media, public relations, publishing, Non-Government Organisations and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government, local communities and individuals.