The Government needs to take more robust action to stop industry offering cheap deals on unhealthy food and drink products to tackle childhood obesity, MPs have said.
In a scathing official report on the Government’s childhood obesity plan, the House of Commons Health Committee said it was ‘extremely disappointed’ that the plan had failed to adopt tougher measures that the Committee had advocated.
The report said that while it welcomed the planned sugary drinks levy, announced in last year’s budget, the Government need to also force manufacturers to pass on the cost to consumers with differential pricing between high- and low- or no-sugar drinks.
The MPs also called for tougher action to reduce portion sizes and force industry to reformulate foods and drinks to reduce their sugar content.
It comes after the committee has previously slated the Government over delaying tactics and unwillingness to open up the report and evidenece behind it to proper scrutiny and then for ‘downgrading’ the contents of the report.
Health committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston said: ‘We are extremely disappointed that the Government has rejected a number of our recommendations. These omissions mean that the current plan misses important opportunities to tackle childhood obesity.
‘Vague statements about seeing how the current plan turns out are inadequate to the seriousness and urgency of this major public health challenge. The Government must set clear goals for reducing overall levels of childhood obesity as well as goals for reducing the unacceptable and widening levels of inequality.’
The Government also came under criticism from doctors for delaying the obesity plan and GP experts slated the ‘weak’ and ‘watered down’ report when it then emerged.