Outgoing Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies has made a series of bold recommendations to tackle childhood obesity.
– Prohibit eating and drinking on public transport in a bid to curb children snacking. Exceptions include drinking fresh water, breastfeeding and eating and drinking for medical conditions.
– Extend the sugar tax to sweetened milk-based drinks with added sugar.
– Ensure all publicly-funded sporting venues and major sporting events only advertise and sell low calorie, low fat, low salt and/or sugar products.
– Tax food firms that fail to reduce sugar, fat and salt in their products quickly enough, and consider plain packaging (as for tobacco) for junk food.
– Conduct an urgent review of VAT rates on food and drink, with a possible higher rate of VAT on unhealthy food which could be used to subsidise fruit and vegetables.
– A cap on the maximum calories per serving at food outlets.
– Free drinking water to be made available in take-aways, food shops and restaurants, and more drinking fountains and “water refill” stations in public places, rail and bus stations, parks and shopping centres.
– Consistent labelling on food and drink for the whole out-of-home food and drink sector, including hospitals and leisure centres.
– Phasing out all marketing, advertising and sponsorship of less healthy food and drink products across all mediums, including online, at any major public venue or public-funded event and on any public-sector-owned advertising site.
– Work with suppliers, cash and carry businesses and packaging companies to introduce smaller portion-sized packaging for fast food.
– Curb speed limits near schools and homes and encourage more children to walk, scoot or cycle.
– Introduce car-free zones around schools to improve air quality and encourage exercise.
– Stronger regulation of marketing of follow-on formula milk and better promotion of breastfeeding, which is known to help reduce the risk of obesity.
– Introduce mandatory standards for the nutritional content of foods for children aged under two.
– All nurseries, registered childminders and schools to adopt water and milk-only policies.