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Children’s obesity still a big problem, say doctors and charities

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Would restrictions on advertising cut childhood obesity?

Public Health England (PHE) has said it will investigate why children are eating too many calories and set guidelines for the next step in the government’s childhood obesity plan, set up in 2016.

One in three children are overweight by the time they reach secondary school. The BMA says stricter rules must be imposed on the food industry to cut marketing of unhealthy food and drink to children.

The obesity plan was criticised by doctors, dentists, charities and campaign groups for being too weak. Recommendations by the PHE to ban or restrict supermarket promotions and television advertising of junk food were not taken up.

The Department of Health has also announced £5m of funding to set up the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) obesity policy research unit at University College London. The unit will carry out long-term research into childhood obesity.

Cancer Research UK says the government is ignoring junk food marketing to children and called for tougher regulation. With the sheer volume of exposure online and on TV, children do not stand a chance, the charity said.

Further information

British Medical JournalBMA calls for tougher action on food industry to curb childhood obesity

Cancer Research UK: The UK’s pick ‘n’ mix approach to children’s obesity is missing a trick