Responding to the announcement that publication of the Government’s National Obesity Framework will be deferred until July, 2016 an All Party Group has pointed to a missed opportunity.
The All Party Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood has issued five recent reports on child health, wellbeing and the damaging consequences of overweight and obesity. It is co-Chaired by children’s champion, Baroness Floella Benjamin who expressed dismay at the delay and issued a statement on behalf of the Group:
‘This is very disappointing news. The Framework was originally scheduled for publication in autumn 2015. We agree with the Government that the nation is in the grip of an obesity epidemic. We also agree that policies to avert the life-long consequences of overweight and obesity must be put in place during the early years of a child’s life and even at the antenatal stage. The All Party Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood hopes that child obesity and its devastating consequences both for the health of the nation and our economy is not going to be a matter that is continually deferred by Government. We are aware of the complexity of the issue, but it is a ticking time-bomb therefore we need to take action now! The Government should publish some initial thoughts at the earliest opportunity so that all stakeholders can participate in the dialogue. The Government owes it to the nation to publish its initial thoughts without further delay.’
Helen Clark, lead author of the reports added:
‘Contributors to our reports are drawn from a large pool; academia, industry, the voluntary sector and media interests and advocate holistic solutions, rather than a ‘silver bullet’ response to this complex and entrenched problem. They were encouraged by the Government’s strongly expressed resolve to tackle the obesity epidemic and will be extremely disappointed that the timescale has slipped back yet again. The Prime Minister should now grip the issue and come out talking.’