UK Plan to Tackle Childhood Obesity Deemed ‘Weak’

overweight kid
General Health

The United Kingdom, not unlike the United States, is striving to tackle the rising issue of childhood obesity. In order to do so, the government has issued a plan of action that both cuts down the amount of sugar allowed in food and places a hefty tax on sweet drinks. The tax would help fund exercise- and other healthy living-related initiatives. Though while many find this to be a good start, some critics are striking down on the upcoming changes.

The United Kingdom is the fattest country in Europe, with 62% of adults identified as overweight and 31% of children ages 2 to 15 identified as having a higher-than-desired BMI level.

The government-developed plan would ask that companies voluntarily decrease the sugar content in their foods by 20%. What’s more, the plan would introduce a tax on sweet drinks and soft drinks by 2018, which would help fund initiatives made to teach kids the important of physical activity. It is recommended that children play for 30 minutes each day on the playground and 30 minutes during school hours.

But despite offering what seems like positive changes, some critics are slamming down hard on the plan. Upset with how loose the plans are, the British Medical Association and others that the plans would still allow companies to market unhealthy foods toward children.

Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver says that the plan is nice, but is missing far too much to truly tackle the issue of childhood obesity in the United Kingdom.

Additionally, many are striking out against the changes, stating that far too much of the plan is voluntary and suggestive. Although the government would like companies to cut down on the sugar, there is nothing mandatory about the new guidelines.

Chairwoman of the British Medical Association’s board of science, professor Parveen Kumar said:

“Although the Government proposes targets for food companies to reduce the level of sugar in their products, the fact that these are voluntary and not backed up by regulation, renders them pointless.”

Other critics say that they feel the plan is weak and that the government is allowing the interests of corporations to trump cutting down on childhood obesity by not regulating how foods are marketed toward young children. [4]

Do you think the government should step in even more on this widespread issue, or instead hope that the population as a whole decides to make the necessary changes?


[1] Associated Press

[2] United Kingdom Government

[3] ITV

[4] Business Insider