All we want for Christmas is…. The opportunity for every child to be a healthy weight. That’s not too much to ask for. And while making our Christmas wish come true may be out of the hands of a certain man in a red suit, there are certainly a few gifts the new Government could be delivering to help everyone have a happy and healthy new year.
So what is on our Christmas wish list?
- Mandatory calorie labelling in all out of home outlets
Back in October’s Health Select Committee Childhood Obesity Inquiry, Public Health Minister Jo Churchill promised an announcement on the next steps on calorie labelling before the end of 2019. With the general election called that day, this timeline now seems unlikely. But given the consultation closed in December 2018, we hope this is top of her to-do list in 2020. It’s vital that this policy applies to all types of outlet, regardless of size, so families know what they are eating, wherever they choose to eat.
- Restrictions on multi-buy and location promotions of unhealthy food
We can guarantee that the moment the shops open post-Christmas, the stacks of tins of chocolate by the entrances and tills will have been replaced with Valentine sweet treats and Easter eggs and buy-one-get-one free offers on hot cross buns. Regulation to stem this tide of unhealthy food that overwhelms families in all types of shop is much needed.
- A 9pm watershed on junk food adverts on TV and online
The new Government has the opportunity to simply stop the torrent of pizza, burger, confectionery and crisp adverts that flood the TV programmes and online channels most popular with children. This policy has over-whelming public support and, to be effective, must be applied to all channels and all types of media before 9pm. Full-stop.
The New Year marks a new decade. One in which we are going to need concerted and consistently strong action from Government to achieve their vision of halving childhood obesity in ten years and giving every child the gift of health.