One in 10 children are now obese when they start school - we need action

21 Feb 2013
Diane Abbott, Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, condemns government’s failing obesity strategy as new figures show one in 10 children are obese when they start school.

The latest data from the NHS Information Centre shows that almost all the indicators for the future of the country's obesity crisis are still pointing the wrong way.

Diane Abbott MP, Labour’s shadow public health minister, said:

‘The government is receiving warning after warning that it has a serious crisis on its hands, and that their strategy is not working, and yet David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt are simply not listening. These figures show British children and families paying the cost of this government’s total lack of leadership on this growing crisis, which is storing up huge problems and costs for our NHS, and for the country.

‘The government can’t keep hiding from this issue and hoping that more half-baked corporate responsibility schemes come good, when they will not. We need radical change.

She called for action on issues like huge cinema soft drinks, and junk food vending machines in schools:

‘I think it’s time that action was taken on huge, ‘drink-it-now’ cinema soft drinks, and also the explosion of junk food vending machines in schools.

‘Action on obesity needs to include local authorities using their powers to control the numbers of fast-food shops, particularly around schools. We must also see much more work to maintain nutritional standards, and to educate young people about nutrition and cooking basic foods. Parents also need support and information.

‘Campaigners like Jamie Oliver have said this government is a disaster for children’s health. But it’s made worse because we’re seeing a nutritional recession, with rising food prices and shrinking incomes driving up consumption of fatty foods and reducing the amount of fruit and vegetables we buy.’


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