The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change's new report calls for a fair deal between the food industry, government and the public to support healthier eating and access to nutrition for all children and to create a healthier nation. Our Children's Food Campaign responds.
The new Institute for Global Change paper Fit for the Future: A Fair Deal on Food for a Healthier Britain throws a welcome spotlight onto the huge disparities of access to fresh, health and nutritious food for children and families, as well as increasing concerns about risks of diet related illnesses, and the future of the NHS.
The report is damning about the focus on personal responsibility that dominates the Government's response to healthy food and diet, saying people cannot easily change if they live in an environment that makes that change difficult or even impossible. It says, "Twenty years ago, it was reasonable to believe that obesity could be dealt with this way; we had only just started to understand and address the issue. Today, it is inexcusable that the government still relies on the same tired ideas that have proved not to work".
Instead the Institute calls for three major shifts of focus, citing both the work of the National Food Strategy and Obesity Health Alliance manifesto. These include:
Create a commercial food environment that provides accessible and affordable healthy options for people.
Embed healthier food across all government entities such as the National Health Service (NHS) and schools to promote long-term health – particularly for children and the vulnerable.
Actively adopt new research, technologies and treatments to improve the prevention and treatment of obesity.
Responding to the report, Children's Food Campaign Manager Barbara Crowther says:
"The paper is really clear that Government needs to regulate much harder to support people in accessing healthy and nutritious food. It is scathing about the current delays in regulation, the lack of long-term thinking and need for stronger political will to hold the food and drink industry accountable and create the level playing field we need.
"We welcome the inclusion of many policies we've been calling for in the recommendations it makes. We're pleased to see calls to expand healthy school food programmes, to build on the successful Soft Drinks Industry Levy with further financial incentives to make food healthier and penalise junk food, as well as stemming the ongoing tide of unhealthy food marketing and promotion."
"It is extremely helpful to have yet another leading, influential voice joining the growing numbers of food and health organisations and think tanks, local health and education professionals, former government ministers and parliamentarians who are calling for bold, visionary action for a healthier food environment. It's time for Government to act."
Published 17 Jul 2023
Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.
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