- The outgoing Chief Medical Officer in the UK, Dame Sally Davies, has published her final report, looking at childhood obesity.
- Key highlights of the report include: 1 in 3 primary school children in the UK are overweight or obese, the equivalent of 13 school buses of children a week are having teeth extracted in hospital under general anaesthetic for tooth decay, and 1.2m children now need medical help due to clinical obesity.
- Key proposals include bans on advertising and promoting junk food, a ban on eating and drinking on public transport (except water or for medical grounds), a big VAT hike on high salt/high sugar/high fat foods, an exemption for VAT on healthy foods, and an introduction of plain packaging (like tobacco) for unhealthy foods.
Analysis and Comments
- The report is pretty hard hitting with some firm proposals which could have impacts on the food and beverage industry & media sectors.
- Boris Johnson earlier this year prevented the extension of the sugar tax to milkshakes claiming it would be too "nanny state". The report takes a dig at government saying they have a “duty and moral responsibility to uphold children's rights and the quality of the environment in which they live".
- There is a 90% correlation with obesity and the development of type 2 diabetes within 10 years.
- If these proposals are adopted (or even some of them), then food companies will be following the path of the soft drinks industry who have reformulated and cut sugar content substantially.