BDA welcomes government action to create Junk Free Checkouts and urges greater commitment to fund weight management and healthy lifestyle services25 June 2018
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) welcomes the Government’s commitments outlined in the next phase of their childhood obesity plan. In particular, the BDA has long called for action on High Fat Sugar and Salt foods at checkouts alongside The Children's Food Campaign, so they are pleased to finally see action on this.
The BDA has also recently called for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to under 16s, and with manufacturers long saying these products are not suitable for children, it is high time for action on these drinks.
If implemented, these changes have real potential to move children in the UK towards the healthy future they deserve. For too long our environment has continually steered us towards high fat and sugar options with relentless advertising and promotions.
In this second chapter of their childhood obesity strategy, the government recognises the vital role of local government public health in tackling childhood obesity, but it does not make clear commitments to support them financially - services have seen their budgets cut significantly and need funding if they are to develop and deliver effective weight management and healthy lifestyle services.
We have seen dietitians and other public health posts cut in recent years, which undermines the government's ambitions. It is time to truly place prevention and public health on the same footing as other health services.
BDA Obesity Specialist Group Childhood Obesity Officer, Louise Tse says “We are delighted to see our work on Junk Free Checkouts and restricting children’s access to energy drinks, amongst other things, move towards fruition. In implementing this strategy, we call on the government to recognise the central role dietitians can and should be playing in addressing the issue of childhood obesity.
“It is encouraging that more training and support will be offered to healthcare professionals to work with children and families, but government must make sure it uses the skills of dietitians as experts to help upskill other HCPs and deliver specialist support to children with obesity.”
Along with our partners in the Obesity Health Alliance, we now urge swift action from across government and industry to make these commitments a reality. There is no silver bullet to tackling childhood obesity, and these measures, alongside programmes already underway, must be sustained and built upon over the long-term if we are to see a significant reduction in the number of children with an unhealthy weight.
For more information / interview requests, please contact the BDA Press Office on:
0800 048 1714