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Getting the nation fit and healthy – Tackling Obesity – U.K.

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Getting the nation fit and healthy – Tackling Obesity – U.K.

Getting the nation fit and healthy – Tackling Obesity – U.K.

The government has unveiled its new obesity strategy which is designed to get the nation fit and healthy, protect themselves against COVID-19 and protect the NHS.Obesity is one of the biggest health crises the country faces. Almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity – and 1 in 3 children leave primary school overweight or obese, with obesity-related illnesses costing the NHS £6 billion a year.The urgency of tackling the obesity time bomb has been brought to the fore by evidence of the link to an increased risk from COVID-19.Read more about the measures we’re taking forward:Banning adverts for high fat, salt or sugar products on TV and online before 9pmAnalysis published by Cancer Research UK from September 2019 shows that almost half (47.6%) of all food adverts shown over the month on ITV1, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky1 were for products high in fat, sugar and salt. This rises to almost 60% during the 6pm to 9pm slot – the time slot where children’s viewing peaks.Evidence shows that exposure to advertising can affect what and when children eat, both in the short term and the longer term by shaping children’s preferences at a young age. Front-of-pack nutritional labelling Our ‘traffic light’ scheme is popular, with 90% of consumers agreeing it helps them make informed decisions when purchasing food. Research shows that people who look at front of pack nutritional labelling are shown to have healthier shopping baskets, fewer calories, less sugar, fat and salt content and higher fibre content.Calorie labelling in restaurants, cafes and takeaways Research shows eating out is becoming more common, particularly among families, with 75% of people visiting a restaurant, fast food eatery or getting a takeaway in the past week, compared to 69% in 2010.However, there is often a lack of information about the calorie content of these items and research suggests people consume around 200 more calories a day if they eat out compared to food prepared at home.This new measure will help people make healthier, informed choices as part of a balanced diet. Ending promotion of high fat, sugar or salt products in store and onlineIn the UK we spend more buying food products on promotion than any other European country and a survey from 2018 shows that around 43% of all food and drink products located in prominent areas were for sugary foods and drinks, compared to just 1% for healthy items.Shops will be encouraged to promote healthier choices and offer more discounts on food like fruit and vegetables.Alcohol calorie labelling Alcohol consumption has been estimated to account for nearly 10% of the calorie intake of those who drink, with around 3.4 million adults consuming an additional days’ worth of calories each week – totalling an additional two months of food each year. But research shows the majority of the public (80%) is unaware of the calorie content of common drinks and many typically underestimate the true content.It is hoped alcohol labelling could lead to a reduction in consumption, improving people’s health and reducing their waistline.

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