Call to cut the junk food ads to help reverse the rise in obesity

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The Obesity Health Alliance called for a raft of stronger measures to help make healthy options more easily accessible and tackle stigma.

The coalition, which includes more than 40 groups such as Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation, today publishes a 10-year plan setting out 30 recommendations.

Called Turning the Tide, it urges ministers to ensure promised policy changes are delivered, such as the 9pm watershed for junk food adverts on TV.

And it called for tougher rules on promoting foods high in fat, sugar and salt and incentives to produce healthier foods.

Professor Dame Anne Johnson, chair of the expert group that helped to develop the report, said: “The majority of people in the UK have a weight classed as overweight or obese and this is likely to continue without ongoing and comprehensive action.

“We reviewed the evidence across multiple factors that influence healthy weight. If the Government commits to bold new policies, we can turn the tide.”

In England, 64 percent of adults are classed as overweight or obese, up from 53 percent in 1993.

Those considered obese has risen from 15 percent to 28 percent in the same period.

The OHA said in the last 30 years there had been 14 health strategies introduced by governments targeting obesity with 689 policy recommendations.

But many of those were not fully implemented or relied on people changing behaviour and failed to address the drivers of obesity. The report argues people are exposed to an “obesogenic environment” from birth, that “calorie-dense, nutrient-poor food is abundant, affordable and normalised” while “physical activity opportunities are not built into everyday life”.

It said ministers should address “weight bias and stigma” by “reframing obesity as an issue of collective rather than personal responsibility”.

The coalition recommends an upper limit on calories per portion.

Professor Linda Bauld, academic lead for the project, said: “Turning the tide on obesity is achievable.



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