A Diabetes UK commissioned survey, which found that three out of four British adults want food manufacturers to reduce the amount of saturated fat, salt and added sugar in foods to help people eat more healthily, was raised in Parliament.
During the House of Commons Oral Health questions, Heywood and Middleton MP, Liz McInnes, cited the poll when asking Health Minister, Jane Ellison, whether the Government would include mandatory targets for the food and drinks industry to make their products healthier as part of its childhood obesity strategy, which is expected out later this month.
Childhood obesity strategy
In response to Ms Mclnnes’ question, Jane Ellison acknowledged that there was more the Government could do to help people to lead healthier lives, but wouldn’t confirm if the measure would be in the Government’s strategy.
Diabetes UK says it is imperative that the Government implements the measure as it would help to limit calorie intake and so would make it easier for people to eat more healthily. The fact that overwhelming majority of the British public want food manufacturers to make their products healthier shows that this is the right approach.
Along with getting food manufacturers to make their foods healthier, Diabetes UK is calling on the Government to introduce a tax on sugar sweetened soft drinks and targets to reduce price promotions and product placements on unhealthy foods in stores, along with clear and consistent front-of-pack colour-coded food labels and a ban on the marketing of unhealthy foods before the 9pm watershed to reduce exposure to children.
Almost two thirds of adults in the UK are overweight or obese
Currently, almost two thirds of adults in the UK and almost 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 Type 2 diabetes later in life. This is unlike Type 1 diabetes, which is not linked to lifestyle and cannot be prevented.
There is no quick fix to solving the obesity crisis
Louise Ansari, Diabetes UK Director of Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes, said: “We are delighted to have the support of Liz McInnes MP on this very important issue. Being overweight and obese increase risk of Type 2 diabetes as well as other serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The impact of these conditions on our nation’s health and the NHS’ finances is devastating so it’s vital that there are measures in place to help people lead healthy lives.
“This is why we want the Government to set mandatory targets for food manufacturers to make the content of their products healthier. This will make it far easier for the public reduce their calorie content and eat more healthily. Our survey shows the measure would receive overwhelming public support.
“As well as this the Government should also introduce a tax on sugar sweetened soft drinks and targets to reduce price promotions and product placements on unhealthy foods in stores, along with clear and consistent front-of-pack colour-coded food labels, and restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy foods. There is no quick fix to solving the obesity crisis so it’s essential that all of these measures are taken together.”