New PM urged to not let industry set agenda on child obesity

New Prime Minister Theresa May has received a message from health campaigners, urging her to make sure the food and drink industry learns from its mistakes, when the government publishes the childhood obesity strategy.

The Children’s Food Campaign compiled a letter to May, saying that she must learn from the experience of the Responsibility Deal, which relied on action from the food and drink industry to solve the problem.

The letter also urged May not to offer any last chances for the industry to show it can self-regulate, while implementing financial penalties for those who fail to respond to compulsory targets.

Children’s Food Campaign co-ordinator Malcolm Clark said: “Letting the food and advertising industries set the terms of their commitments on tackling the marketing of junk food to children is no way to prioritise public health.

He added: “We are alarmed by reports that the government appears to have given in to industry’s economically short-sighted demands for purely voluntary measures and a lack of firm commitments on restrictions on marketing to children and promotion of less healthy food and drink.”

This follows a leaked copy of David Cameron’s Childhood Obesity Strategy, revealed last week , which prompted campaign group, Action on Sugar (AoS) to call for its revision.

AoS said the government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy, which has been delayed until the autumn, does not go far enough. It estimated the plan, in its current form, will only reduce calorie intake by around 10-20Kcal/person/day as a maximum.

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