Diabetes UK has called the publication of the Government’s long-awaited childhood obesity plan an “utter disappointment” that falls short of what is needed to tackle the obesity crisis and, in turn, halt the rising tide of the Type 2 diabetes.
"Soft drinks industry levy is not enough"
Currently, almost two thirds of adults in the UK and a third of children in the UK in their final year of primary school are overweight or obese, which means that they are at greater risk of developing serious health conditions later in life such as Type 2 diabetes, which unlike Type 1 diabetes is largely preventable. As well as being personally devastating for all those involved, Type 2 diabetes is extremely costly to the health service. The NHS spends over £8 billion every year managing the condition.
While Diabetes UK has welcomed the Government’s renewed commitment to the soft drinks industry levy as an important step, the charity say that it is not enough on its own and that the Government must implement ambitious targets for food manufacturers to make their products healthier and introduce measures to reduce children’s exposure to junk food advertising.
"The Government is letting down the next generation"
Chris Askew, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK, said: “We are utterly disappointed that the obesity plan announced by the Government is letting down the next generation by falling short of the comprehensive strategy needed to tackle the obesity crisis and, in turn, halt the alarming rise in Type 2 diabetes and its life-threatening and costly complications.
“Unlike Type 1 diabetes, the most potent risk factor for Type 2 diabetes is being overweight or obese. That’s why it is imperative we tackle childhood obesity and help all of us make healthier choices. The measures we urgently need to see implemented include setting ambitious targets, backed by regulation, for food manufacturers to reduce the saturated fat, salt and added sugar content in their products, and closing loopholes on the marketing of junk food advertising, including a 9pm watershed to reduce exposure to children.
“We welcome the Government’s re-stated commitment to the soft drinks industry levy, and recognise it as a bold step forward in reducing the nation’s sugar consumption, but on its own it’s not enough to solve the obesity crisis nor reduce the growing unsustainable costs to the NHS. We look forward to working with the Government through the consultation to explore ways of introducing the levy so that it is effective, and does not negatively impact on people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and their families who rely on high-sugar products to treat low blood glucose levels.”
You can respond to the Government's soft drinks industry levy via theHM Treasury website.