The NHS spends approximately £6billion every year treating health problems linked to obesity after two in three adults are overweight or obese. By 2050 it is predicted that the £6billion sum will increase to £10billion per year if no action is taken.
In response, the Government announced it would introduce plans such as a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts on television, a ban on paid-for online advertising for unhealthy food and drink, and a ban on ‘Buy One Get One Free’ deals.
Now from internal pressures and threats of a vote of no-confidence, the Government has decided to delay or desert some of its obesity-tackling measures.
Speaking on ITV’s political flagship programme Peston, chef and restaurateur Jamie Oliver spoke to Robert Peston about the latest U-turn which adds to the long list of failed obesity plans.
Mr Oliver said: “I guess I thought I might have got lucky. In my earlier years I never would have thought he was Prime Minister and of course he is, and I thought maybe he could be the one who has had this eureka moment and seen not only how it affected his own health but also how it is affecting the NHS.
“I was getting excited for myself and many of the charities and specialists that work in the area of child health.
“Our friends internationally were starting to say, ‘actually this is looking really good and that’s brilliant that you’ve got this far’ but of course then last Friday happened.”
According to the NHS: “Obesity rates in both reception-aged and year 6 school children increased by around 4.5 percentage points between 2019-20 and 2020-21 – the highest annual rise since the National Child Measurement Programme began.”
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The demonstration has been labelled by Oliver as “Eton Mess” and he told Peston that “there seemed to be something symbolic in many ways about the Eton mess”.
He added: “I thought it would be very British for us to turn up as a united front to show solidarity. Mums, Dads, parents, practitioners, professionals, kids whoever can come…it’s just to show symbolism of ‘we want you to do this, we want you to take this seriously’.”
After calling people to join in his protest, the TV chef concluded: “Eton Mess was a pavlova that was dropped at Eton school, and it was a mess on the floor and that’s how I feel about the childhood obesity strategy it’s been dropped, it’s been u-turned and it’s a mess.”