This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Government obesity programme 'not enough' to help kids

Written by: | Published:

How can the government's record be tracked? How can the government's record be tracked?

Childhood obesity is at ‘crisis point’, with only health visitors and school nurses positioned to stem the tide, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Public Health England (PHE) announced the next steps of its childhood obesity plan on 18 August as they prepare to look over evidence of calorie consumption and set a programme to remove excess calories from foods such as ready meals, pizzas and burgers which children often consume.

READ MORE: Labour prioritise children's health after warnings of 'crisis'

While PHE highlighted progress already made on its programme to reduce sugar content in sweet snacks, the RCN said their announcements were positive but do ‘not go far enough’.

‘Childhood obesity is at crisis point but the government has yet to acknowledge the severity of the problem,’ said RCN lead for children’s health Fiona Smith. ‘Guidance is all well and good but, as we’ve seen with the sugar levy, it takes definitive legislation to get companies to take action.

‘Public health staff like health visitors and school nurses are experts in educating the whole family about healthy eating and providing practical ways to improve children’s health. Yet as public health budgets are cut, numbers of these crucial staff are declining fast.

READ MORE: Public health set for cuts of £85 million from national government

‘Obesity is at the root of so many of the country’s health problems. What we need is a strategy that can stand up to the immense challenge we are facing.’

PHE claimed that adults currently consume on average between 200 to 300 calories too many each day and children are following suit, with high-calorie food more readily available than ever before.

According to their data, one in three children are either overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school and more children in the UK than previously are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, some as young as seven years old. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds were found to be more likely to be obese.

Philip Dunne, Minister of State for Health said: ‘We all have a responsibility to help people live healthier lives, but with a third of children leaving primary school obese we must take a comprehensive approach and now focus on excess calories.

READ MORE: Nurses 'in ideal position' to stop physical inactivity of 20 million Brits

‘This can only be done through strong guidance, grounded in evidence – that’s why we have funded a new £5 million dedicated Obesity Research Policy Unit to understand the deeper causes of obesity.’

PHE will publish the evidence in early 2018 and then consult with the food industry, trade bodies and health non-governmental organisations to develop guidance and timelines for the calorie reduction programme.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.