UK ups its fight against obesity with 10-point action plan

Press Release   •   Feb 18, 2013 10:57 GMT

Doctors are demanding fizzy drinks be heavily taxed, junk food adverts are banned and hospitals are given healthier food, as the UK ups its fight against obesity.

These ideas are all part of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges 10-point action plan to help end UK's status as the 'fat man of Europe.'

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which represents nearly every doctor in the UK, said ballooning waistlines already constituted a "huge crisis".

Britain's 220,000 doctors are demanding a 20% increase in the cost of sugary drinks, and suggesting fewer fast food outlets be placed near schools.

The UK is one of the most obese nations in the world with one in four adults in England obese, and the figures are predicted to rise to 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children by 2050. Doctors fear that a rising tide of obesity will pose dire health consequences for the nation.

The reports recommendations include:

- A ban on advertising foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt before 9pm
- Further taxes on sugary drinks to increase prices by at least 20%
- A reduction in fast food outlets near schools and leisure centres
- A £100m budget for interventions such as weight-loss surgery
- No junk food or vending machines in hospitals, where all food must meet the same nutritional standards as in schools
- Food labels to include calorie information for children

The report says it is "perplexing" to find canteens in hospitals, which should be setting an example, selling unhealthy dishes, and "even more astonishing that in many hospital receptions patients pass by high street fast food franchises or vending machines selling confectionery, drinks and crisps".

Although the report has been praised by many, The Food and Drink Federation, which represents produce manufacturers, branded the report a "damp squib" that added "little to an important debate". It said the report failed to recognise the role of alcohol in adding calories to adult diets, and said little about physical activity and "health in the workplace".

For more information on obesity, see the latest research: Obesity reports

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