This week the government has published its long awaited plan to tackle childhood obesity, a step that was anticipated to be pivotal for the health of the youngest generation. However, the plan has been criticised by many including the British Medical Association, the CEO of Sainsbury’s and health advocate and celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver.
The plan asks the food and drink industry to reduce the sugar content in its products by 5% over the coming year, and 20% over the next 4 years, in a voluntary scheme which will be monitored by Public Health England (PHE).
The government is also calling for primary schools to ensure children get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, which will be funded by its new soft drink ‘sugar tax’, which was announced at the last Budget.
Whilst the plan is a step in the right direction, the resounding feedback is that it has not gone far enough with regards to addressing the epidemic. According to various sources, whole sections of the draft have been dropped from the final version including legislation that would have restricted advertising junk food to children and promotions such as ‘buy one get one free’ deals.
According to the BBC, 1 in 10 children currently start school obese, rising to 1 in 5 by the time they leave. So how can parents avoid their children becoming a statistic in the childhood obesity crisis?
The government’s Change 4 Life program is a fantastic resource offering practical advice for the whole family about how to reduce sugar and make healthy food swaps, tips for getting your 5 a day and how to reduce your children’s portion sizes, and even a suggested meal plan for your kids’ packed lunches.
It also offers some great resources to help your kids move more, including Disney-inspired ‘10 Minute Shake Ups’ which encourage children to do short bursts of exercise along with their favourite characters.
For more information about Change 4 Life visit www.change4life.co.uk