Labelling ‘junk food’ with health warnings is to be discussed at a major medical conference this week.
A motion to introduce packaging so parents and children are aware food items which are high in sugar has been put forward at the British Medical Association’s annual conference in Bournemouth.
In 2016, the National Diabetes Pediatric Audit suggested there were more than 500 children and young people in the UK with type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and poor lifestyle.
Tooth decay is also an important health factor in young people as it is thought that more than 34,000 children aged nine and under have had teeth removed in the last two years.
The BMA’s North West Regional Council is set to call on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the Food Standards Agency to introduce the health warnings on the food packaging which are similar to the images found on cigarette packets.
The council also wants to introduce dental hygiene lessons into primary schools and free toothbrushes for children aged five and under.
A sugar tax on all fizzy drinks was introduced in this year’s budget. It is due to come into force from next year, although health campaigners want it to be extended to food too.
Action on Sugar chairman Graham McGregor, who is also professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London, said: “The levy should be structured by the Treasury as per the soft drinks industry levy, whereby it is aimed at manufacturers to encourage them to reduce sugar in their overall product ranges.”
Around 500 doctors from around the UK will attend the conference this year. The annual event is where healthcare professionals discuss and debate key matters of interest to the medical profession.