Today, we are uniting in the battle against childhood obesity. Our political parties don’t agree on much — but we do agree that child health must be at the heart of all party manifestos.
Obesity is still one of the biggest issues facing our children’s generation. The facts are staggering. Britain has the worst childhood obesity rates in western Europe and every year the gap in obesity between the most and the least disadvantaged children continues to grow. It is unacceptable that, in 2017, diet poses one of the greatest threats to UK families’ health and life expectancy. More than 10% of illness is diet-related, draining £16bn from the NHS each year.
However, we have a window of opportunity. The election is our chance to give the UK a healthier future, and to cement a plan to give our kids a fair start.
That’s why we’re speaking out with one voice against childhood obesity. We need to ensure that political differences don’t hamper progress. If we don’t act now, we will lose generations to avoidable chronic disease.
We welcome the sugary drinks tax, which passed through parliament in the Finance Bill on Tuesday. It is just the beginning and it is already starting to drive reformulation of soft drinks. There is no silver bullet in the fight against obesity. A cohesive strategy must cover: junk food marketing; food education; food labelling; reformulation of products; physical activity; and support programmes for parents.
We cannot stop working on a robust, preventative approach to obesity until every UK child has access to good, fresh, nutritious food. This is non-negotiable if we want to maximise UK plc’s productivity, and give our kids the future they deserve.
Norman Lamb MP, health spokesman, Liberal Democrats; Tom Watson MP, deputy leader, Labour Party; Dr Philippa Whitford MP, Westminster group leader (health), Scottish National Party; Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, chairwoman, health select committee, Conservative Party; Jamie Oliver, chef and campaigner
Sourced with permission from: The Sunday Times