Childhood Obesity Strategy should be stronger

Slimming World has welcomed the publication of the government’s long awaited Childhood Obesity Strategy. However the organisation expressed dismay that junk food has been let off the hook despite young people themselves pointing the finger at fast food takeaways and unclear food labelling as major factors in the childhood obesity epidemic.

Slimming World also says that a strategy that addresses only childhood obesity and ignores adult obesity and advice to parents, is unlikely to solve a problem that affects the health and wellbeing of families and communities and costs the NHS £5.1 billion a year.

Earlier this year the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), the Youth Health Movement, and Slimming World published the Child’s Obesity Strategy after working closely with 13-18 years old from across the UK to ask how young people would solve the childhood obesity epidemic.

Jenny Caven, Head of External Affairs said: “This is the first time that young people had been asked for their views on obesity and they identified a number of steps which could be taken by food manufacturers, retailers, Government and others to help tackle childhood obesity.

“Interestingly, many of the steps identified by the young people are steps that have been previously identified by experts but not acted on by the Government.”

Jenny Caven, Head of External Affairs
It is vital that any new initiatives and policy must encourage a whole family approach.
Jenny Caven, Head of External Affairs

Ms Caven added: “Obesity is a complex and multi-layered issue that has an impact on physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing. Overconsumption of sugar is a major public health issue but it is important to remember that reducing sugar intake is just one factor in supporting people to adopt healthier lifestyles and other key issues, such as reducing the consumption of high fat foods and understanding how to make healthy eating choices, must be addressed too.

“There is strong evidence of a link between parents who are overweight and a child’s propensity to obesity so it is vital that any new initiatives and policy must encourage a whole family approach.

“Our report, ‘The Child’s Obesity Strategy’ made a number of recommendations from young people themselves including a call to ban fast food deliveries to schools and putting health warning classifications on foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.

“We call on the government to recognise that the publication of its new strategy is very much a starting point and the dialogue with experts in the field of weight management and behaviour change must be a priority. A whole generation is depending on it.” 

Notes to Editors

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969. There are now more than 18,000 groups held weekly across the UK and Republic of Ireland via a network of 4,000 community-based Slimming World Consultants, who receive specific training in the role of diet and physical activity in weight management, as well as sophisticated behaviour-change techniques.

Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety and energy density. Our phased activity programme, Body Magic, eases members into activity until it becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine. The principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people and a recognition that those who struggle with weight carry a double burden, the weight itself and a burden of guilt and shame about their weight. Slimming World’s programme integrates practical, up-to-date advice with a highly developed support system based on care and compassion, and Consultant training focuses on facilitating behaviour change in a warm and friendly group environment. Consultant training is delivered through the Slimming World Academy. Slimming World also invests in a comprehensive research programme to develop its support for long-term weight management. The group support provided by Slimming World is recognised as effective by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS.

For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 897 8000.

For the Press Office please email public.relations@slimmingworld.co.uk