Levels of obesity across the UK are too high. About 1 in 10 children are obese as they start school, and this doubles by year 6. Obesity rates are also twice as high in the most deprived areas compared to the least. UK’s food and drink manufacturers are committed to supporting the UK Government’s ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

FDF members demonstrate their commitment by investing in reformulation and healthier options; offering appropriate portion size options; and providing clear labelling. To help us, we need governments to use a proportionate, evidence-based policy framework. This must avoid costly new regulatory barriers or restrictions that threaten future investments and the launch of the very products we are being encouraged to make.

EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland all have plans to tackle obesity. We work with all the administrations, responding to key consultations and advising on how food manufacturers can help governments to tackle this problem.

Future milestones and updates

Legislation on out of home calorie labelling in England

Regulation to introduce calorie labelling in the out of home sector in England were laid in Parliament on 12 May.

The rules will require large out-of-home sector businesses (with 250+ employees), including cafes, restaurants and takeaways, to display the calorie information of non-prepacked food and soft drink items that are prepared for customers.  Calorie information will need to be displayed at the point of choice for the customer, such as physical menus, online menus, food delivery platforms and food labels.

The measures will be debated ahead summer recess and will come into force from April 2022 subject to parliamentary approval.

DHSC Health Incentives Market Engagement

On Wednesday 14 April, The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) held a market engagement event to discuss their new Health Incentives programme, spearheaded by Sir Keith Mills. Sir Keith will support the Government to develop innovative approaches with public and private partners that use incentives to help people make healthier choices - taking learnings from Singopore’s digital public health schemes, such as the National Steps Challenge and Eat, Drink, Shop Healthy Challenge.

DHSC will explore digital solutions facilitating long term behaviour change in healthy eating and physical activity. Richard Sangster, Deputy Director of the new Team, highlighted £5 million in funding to develop and test these approaches in 2021-22. In May DHSC will be designing the commercial process for participation, and will begin engagement with suppliers in June. They intend to mobilise and test these projects in September 2021 to March 2022. Please contact Amy or the Health Incentives Team.

New Office for Health Promotion to drive improvement of nation’s health

Following the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s announcement of the new National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) and the abolition of PHE on 18 August 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced the formation of the new Office for Health Promotion. The Office will lead national efforts to improve and level up the health of the nation by tackling obesity, improving mental health and promoting physical activity.

The Office will recruit an expert who will report jointly to the Health Secretary and Chief Medical Officer and sit within the DHSC. The Office will help inform a cross-government agenda that tracks wider determinants of health, such as diet, smoking and exercise. The Office for Health Promotion is due to be established by autumn 2021.

DHSC announce new specialised support to help those living with obesity to lose weight

Update

The Department of Health and Social care (DHSC) has announced £100 million of government support to help those living with obesity to lose weight as part of the obesity strategy announced in July 2020. This includes the establishment of an obesity taskforce, spearheaded by Sir Keith Mills. Sir Keith will support the Government to develop innovative approaches with public and private partners that use incentives to help people make healthier choices.

Over £70 million will be invested into weight management services such as digital apps, weight management groups, individual coaches and specialist clinical support. The remaining £30 million will fund initiatives to help people maintain a healthy weight and upskill healthcare professionals to support families with children lead healthy lives.

The FDF shared the following media statement

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