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Key elements of the Government's strategy to tackle childhood obesity

The Government has published its much-anticipated childhood obesity strategy.

There is a big emphasis on greater physical activity in schools and a voluntary scheme for the food industry to reformulate popular children's products to reduce sugar.

Here are some key elements of the plan:

:: Ministers hope the food industry will cut 20% of sugar from the products children enjoy such as cereals, yoghurts, sweets, breads and desserts over the next five years, with a 5% cut in the first year.

:: Public Health England (PHE) will set targets for sugar content per 100g of product and calorie caps for specific single-serving products, initially for breakfast cereals, yoghurts, biscuits, cakes, confectionery, pastries, puddings, ice cream and sweet spreads, then other foods. From 2017, the programme will be extended to include targets to reduce total calories in a wider range of products.

:: PHE will also report on whether the industry is reducing sugar content through the voluntary scheme and if it is deemed that insufficient progress has been made, the Government will consider "whether alternative levers need to be used".

:: The Government's sugar tax on soft drinks such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Red Bull will come into force from 2018. The money raised will be put towards sports in schools and school breakfast clubs.

:: Primary schools are being asked to help ensure that pupils get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day - 30 minutes in school through PE and active play and 30 minutes outside school.

:: A new voluntary "healthy schools rating scheme" will be taken into account during school inspections.

:: The food industry within the public sector, from catering services at leisure centres to hospitals, should set an example to children and families by promoting healthy eating. Local authorities should adopt Government buying standards for food and catering services, particularly for vending machines in leisure centres.

:: School Food Standards will be updated to take into account the latest dietary recommendations.

:: The UK's decision to leave the EU means officials will have "greater flexibility" on labelling on the front of food packages.

:: Health officials will work with tech experts to develop new apps to help inform healthier choices.


From Belfast Telegraph