New Tory government plans to abandon some health measures
Obesity Action Scotland has warned the UK government not to ditch the sugar levy and other health measures.
The charity has joined leading health charities and medical organisations across Scotland and the UK to send an open letter to the Liz Truss expressing “profound concern” that measures to promote children’s health may be abandoned without facing the scrutiny of UK parliament.
They say that in a “misplaced bid to address the cost of living crisis, abandoning these policies will damage both health and the economy.”
The letter states: “We understand the government is considering scrapping some of the measures that apply across the whole of the UK such as the sugar levy on soft drinks and the forthcoming ban on TV advertising of junk food before 9pm.
“There is no doubt that cutting preventable illness is crucial to reduce NHS backlogs, realise targets to halve childhood obesity by 2030 and deliver on levelling up, as poor diet is a key driver of regional health inequalities. It would be a significant step backwards to abandon these policies.”
The percentage of children entering Primary 1 at risk of obesity is up by 5% points, from 10% to over 15% in the most recent statistics.
The letter has been signed by many national organisations such as British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Scottish organisations including Obesity Action Scotland, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow and Glasgow Food Policy Partnership.
Lorraine Tulloch, programme lead of Obesity Action Scotland said: “If the UK government reverse key policies that help tackle the incessant marketing of unhealthy foods, it would be a significant step backwards for the health of the nation. In the average primary 1 class in Scotland four pupils are living with obesity and a further four are living with overweight.
“We have a commitment from governments across the UK to halve childhood obesity by 2030 but we are currently headed in the wrong direction, with rates increasing. Only through bold policies that improve our food environment can we truly start to improve our children’s health.”