Childhood obesity strategy to be further delayed over sugary drink tax rows

Camille Bienvenu
Thu, 21 Jul 2016
Childhood obesity strategy to be further delayed over sugary drink tax rows
Release of the much-awaited strategy to tackle growing rates of childhood obesity has once again been pushed back by Government officials.

The publication of the childhood obesity strategy was originally expected in December 2015 before it was put back three times: first to January, then to the spring around February or March, and till the summer.

Now reports suggest the document may not see the light of day until the autumn as recent rows over the tax on sugary drinks has rendered its completion more difficult.

Although curbing obesity rates in children was said to be at the top of the agenda, a fixed date for when policies would be implemented has never been guaranteed nor confirmed, a Department of Health spokesperson has argued.

Tackling the obesity epidemic is vital as recent statistics have revealed alarming rates of obesity among primary school children, with nearly one in five children affected by the condition before reaching the age of 10 or 11.

Several studies have evidenced that the rise in childhood obesity correlates with the rise of childhood type 2 diabetes. They also established a strong link between childhood obesity and predisposition to diabetes-related complications like heart disease and stroke.

Anti-obesity campaigners, have urged the government to use the next few weeks to ensure the strategy is comprehensive and bold.

The Obesity Health Alliance - a coalition of over 30 charities, including Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK - said the strategy should introduce a soft drinks industry levy, include measures to significantly reduce sugar, saturated fat and salt from food and drinks as well as limit children's exposure to junk food advertising.

Concerns have however been raised that the sugar tax might not be ready in time to be included in the childhood obesity strategy at all as it hasn't received full support among politicians who are committed to keep taxes low and not introduce new ones.
Leave a Comment
Login via Facebook
or
Have your say in the Diabetes Forum
Your comments may be moderated. Please report any spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts.