Sunderland MP pledges to tackle childhood obesity
A Sunderland MP has pledged to support the fight against childhood obesity.
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West said tackling the issue is a priority.
Mrs Hodgson, who is also Shadow Minister for Public Health made her committment at an event hosted by the Obesity Health Alliance in Westminster.
She said: “High levels of obesity is the biggest public health threat in the UK today – and we have to do everything possible to help children be a healthy weight, otherwise they are at risk of carrying a whole range of health problems into adult life.
”The UK has one of the worst obesity rates in Western Europe, with almost two in every three people being either overweight or obese.
“There is no silver bullet to tackling obesity, in my capacity as Shadow Minister for Public Health, I have been calling for two policies in particular: the restriction of junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed on all TV channels and the restriction of energy drink sales to children.
“I look forward to working with the Obesity Health Alliance and others in the future to combat this public health crisis, and ensure that everyone has the ability and knowledge to be able to lead a healthy life.”
The alliance event was organised to celebrate the implantation of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, commonly known as the sugar tax, which came into force earlier this month.
The Government is also expected to publish an update to its Childhood Obesity Plan in the coming months, with campaigners hoping for tougher measures particularly around junk food advertising.
Caroline Cerny, Obesity Health Alliance Lead, said: “It’s fantastic to see politicians recognising the scale of the obesity problem and committing to putting pressure on Government to be bolder in its policies to help everyone make healthier choices.
“The Soft Drinks Industry Levy is a significant step in the right direction, but we also need to see tougher measures on areas such as junk food advertising.
“Currently, millions of children see adverts for junk food during family time shows which fall outside current regulations. This loophole needs to be closed.
“We also want to see more done to improve the environment which makes unhealthy food too readily available at cheap prices.”
The alliance’s top three policy priorities for tackling obesity are; changing the current advertising rules which are failing to protect children, making sure the Government fully implements the Soft Drinks Industry Levy and encouraging the Government to reduce sugar, saturated fat and salt as well as overall calories from everyday foods.