Obesity again, has once again surfaced to the opening pages of mainstream media as Big Jay (who interestingly has recently announced he's piled on the unwanted pounds [see here]) last Wednesday co-ordinated a letter to Theresa with the backing of Labour leaders, Scottish National, Lib Dem and Green parties, calling for “a comprehensive strategy to tackle childhood obesity”. It included 13 recommendations, that included:
An end to junk food marketing on TV before 9PM, and mandatory measures to stop junk food marketing to children online.
An end to ‘buy one get one free’ and other multi-buy junk food offers.
A ban on licensed characters, cartoon characters and celebrities being used to promote junk food to children.
Further use of the tax system to make healthy food cheaper and discourage unhealthy choices both at home and on our high streets.
Reformulation of junk food to reduce sugar, calories, salt and fat.
Mandatory traffic light front of pack labelling and an end to fake health claims.
Age restrictions on the sale of energy drinks to under 16s.
Measures to help all schools promote health with appropriate oversight (by OFSTED in England) to monitor progress.
Adequate training, tools, and time for health professionals to better support patients’ nutritional needs.
Support for food education and improvement of the wider food environment for workers.
More support for working parents.
Steps to encourage restaurants to contribute to tackling child obesity, including calorie labels on menus.
Measures to ensure devolved administrations, combined authorities, and local authorities are equipped with the tools to help fight against obesity in their areas.
The ambition to halve child obesity by 2030, with a clear definition and baseline, and clear milestones to measure progress towards this goal.
All of this is fantastic, but my thought is thus; we are too stupid to manage our own eating behaviours (60% of us are overweight) and therefore intervention is needed. Pubs are not meant to serve someone who is drunk, they do, but if you’re really smashed they won’t. So, why don’t Burger King, Greggs et al stop serving people who are morbidly obese? Possibly scales by the checkout and your weight flashes up on a big screen with a green tick or a red cross next to it. Yes, it would be fat-shaming, but it may highlight the problems...