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Childhood obesity strategy further delayed, with sugar tax and physical activity unlikely to feature

By Jak Phillips    26 Feb 2016
Jamie Oliver has been a vocal figure in the campaign against sugar

The government’s long overdue childhood obesity strategy is facing further delays, with the document now not expected until after the EU referendum.

Although originally due in December 2015, the Department of Health (DoH) confirmed today (26 February) that the strategy would not be published until the summer.

The DoH said that a ‘sugar tax’ is unlikely to feature in the government’s plans, despite increased pressure from health charities and celebrity advocates such as Jamie Oliver.

Health Club Management understands that physical activity will not play a prominent role in the childhood obesity strategy. It is thought that the government considers provisions for tackling physical inactivity to have been covered by the recently published sports strategy, which saw Sport England’s remit broadened to increasing participation among those aged five and over.

News of the delay – and likely omission of a sugar tax – was met with broad dismay by health bodies.

Citing recent evidence from Cancer Research UK that suggests a tax on sugary drinks could reduce obesity rates in the UK by 5 per cent in 10 years, the CEO of the Royal Society for Public Health Shirley Cramer described the omission as “hugely frustrating.”

“Childhood obesity is a time bomb on which the clock is ticking, set to wreck the future health of our children and the sustainability of our NHS,” she said.

“There can be no excuse for delay or prevarication when we know – and the Government knows – what must be done, especially if those delays are for political reasons.”

Meanwhile Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: "This constant delay in publishing the childhood obesity strategy is unforgivable and the Department of Health's statement that they 'want to get it right' is the most ridiculous and lame excuse."

Childhood obesity strategy  Department of Health  sugar tax  Jamie Oliver 
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