Today I’ve been invited to attend a debate with Jamie Oliver (eeek!) where he is hoping to simply re-open the UK’s current obesity debate! I’m looking forward to seeing how Jamie Oliver takes on the child obesity plan.
The problem with the Child Obesity Plan –
Since the release of the ‘Child Obesity Plan’ in the UK, which was published in August, there seems to be a general consensus from health care professionals and public health figures alike that it just isn’t good enough.
The ‘strategy’ seemed to start out as a much more rounded and robust plan with input from a number of experts and a positive response from David Cameron. However, since Theresa May came to power the report was altered and released as a 13 page document in the middle of Parliament’s summer recess (when no one was in Parliament to give it any attention). The response from those who care about child obesity was astounding. To read the responses from some of the UK’s biggest media outlets, see my blog post –> Childhood Obesity Plan: Nutrition News
You can also see what the original suggestions were for the report from Public Health England, here: https://www.srnutrition.co.uk/2015/10/childhood-obesity-sugar-tax-and-more
The Child Obesity Debate re-opens –
Today Jamie Oliver is gathering social media influencers and industry experts to re-open the obesity debate, ahead of his appearance on Dispatches; ‘The Secret Plan to Save Fat Britain’ (Monday October 31, 8pm on Channel 4). This programme plans to investigates the change in the government’s childhood obesity strategy.
I’m really pleased to be asked to join as I completely agree that the report was a HUGE disappointment to public health, especially at a time when we simply can’t afford not to make BIG and BOLD changes.
Current Child Obesity Statistics –
You may have seen the slide below before from the National Obesity Observatory, but it becomes more concerning when we know that very little progress is actually being made to reduce these worrying levels of obesity.
At a meeting recently, when I asked a Department of Health representative how they were actually acting on childhood obesity I was told that the Government would be:
- Working with industry to introduce voluntary sugar reduction targets
- Introducing a sugar tax on sugary drinks
- Starting the conversation about obesity more broadly in the upcoming weeks/months/years (?!)
See more about what the Government’s plans are the full Child Obesity Plan.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased that there are some changes happening BUT these suggestions are, alone, going to have a VERY minor impact on obesity rates (if any), unless they are combined with many, many more. We need tighter regulations like we have seen working now for smoking. To back this up, following on from the obesity plan we saw industry members themselves calling for the regulations around sugar reduction to be made mandatory, not voluntary. We also have known for years from reports such as the McKinsey report that multiple interventions are needed to reduce obesity. Not single interventions in isolation.
Jamie Oliver takes on the Child Obesity Plan
So what’s Jamie’s role in this? Well I have written before about the positive role that celebrities and public health campaigners like Jamie Oliver can have on public health. In Jamie’s view this Obesity plan “…will not save lives, it will not help unburden the NHS from the enormous strain it is under from Obesity, and it is not fit for purpose in any way.”
This debate is planning on opening out the discussion on Child Obesity once again and hopefully Jamie’s dispatches show will go some way to doing this also. See the trailer here: