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BIPA Environmental and Social Care Committee call on Govts to do more to end childhood obesity

Added 12-Jun-2018

The Environmental and Social Committee of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly has called on the UK and Irish Governments, and the devolved Governments in the UK, to be more proactive on childhood obesity. The childhood obesity follow-up report highlights the positive effects of steps such as the sugary drinks levy in Ireland and the UK, but says stronger action to reduce the availability and attractiveness of foods high in sugar, fat and salt will be needed to significantly reduce obesity levels.

Launching the report, Committee Chair Lord Alf Dubs commented:

“Increasing levels of childhood obesity are one of the greatest challenges facing public health across Britain and Ireland. Over a quarter of children and young people in the UK and Ireland a currently obese or overweight and this has serious consequences on their long-term health.”

“We join a long line of clinicians and parliamentarians in calling for measures to put an end to the culture of easily available and heavily promoted foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. We propose a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising and a review of the effectiveness of industry self-regulation. The clustering of fast food outlets around schools is a major problem and we need to examine whether local authorities have sufficient planning powers to tackle this issue. 

“Obesity will not be solved by reducing the availability of HFSS foods alone. Children and young people need to be encouraged and supported in living more active lifestyles and we call for the money raised by the sugary drinks levy to be replicated in spending on physical activity strategies. 

“It is pleasing that both the Irish and UK Governments, and the devolved Governments across the UK, have begun to recognise the seriousness of the problem and measures such as the sugary drink levy in the UK and Ireland and the START campaign in Ireland are to be welcomed. However, if we are to make serious inroads we will need a comprehensive governmental response. They must act now and introduce effective strategies and give our children and young people the best chance of leading healthy lives.” 

Main recommendations:

  • Match income raised from sugary drink levies with spending on physical activity strategies to combat childhood obesity
  • Monitor effectiveness of industry self-regulation of advertising of High Fat, Sugar and Salt products. If measures do not prove effective, consideration should be given to tighter regulation
  • Introduce a 9pm watershed restriction on advertising of HFSS products
  • Once the impact of sugary drinks levy has been assessed, consider extension to cover food that is high in sugar
  • Local authorities work with central government and local stakeholders to explore ways to strengthening planning controls to create healthy living environments, particularly around schools


Report attached here Your Link.



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