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Government misses important opportunities to tackle childhood obesity

The government has been criticised by MP’s (Members of the health select committee) for missing opportunities to tackle childhood obesity and in particularly critical of last August's childhood obesity plan.

The committee welcomed the levy on manufacturers of sugary drinks but said there was a failure to monitor whether the tax was being passed on to consumers through price rises. They were also disappointed about the decision not to regulate aggressive price promotion and discounting of unhealthy food. They would also have liked action to restrict advertising of high fat, salt and sugary food and drinks, particularly on television before the 9 p.m. watershed.

Whilst the committee welcomed the government's decision to back school breakfast clubs in the child obesity strategy they expressed their concern that there is no "Plan B" if a voluntary government programme aimed at reducing the use of unhealthy ingredients in the food industry fails.

MPs of the committee are asking for a firm proposal with an action plan if the voluntary programme does not go far enough to tackle childhood obesity. They raise concern and disappointment that a number of recommendations have been rejected and in-turn the current plan misses important opportunities to tackle the problem.

They welcomed the government's pledge to ensure that the proceeds of soft drinks levy were invested in measures to improve children's health, including investment in school sports and an extra £10m for school healthy breakfast clubs.