LibLink : Floella Benjamin : Ministers should seize the baton and get serious on child obesity

As noted this morning, Floella Benjamin had an Oral Question in the House of Lords today on the subject of childhood obesity. On a day when Simon Jenkins is suggesting that obesity is a greater threat for millennials than cannabis (add your own comment there, I suggest), the question of the health of our children is a live one.

In a piece for The House Magazine, Floella, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood, notes;

From day one, we’ve said that if we are to defeat the obesity epidemic – which has the UK (and most countries worldwide) in its grip – business, industry, the voluntary sector, advertising and media outlets can only do so much. If we are serious about the issue, then our government must lead and co-ordinate policy or else good intentions will remain simply ‘sound and fury signifying nothing’.

Whilst she is supportive of the National Obesity Strategy, published in 2016, she writes of her concerns over the voluntary nature of much of the proposals in it.

To read the full article, click here.

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  • it Is important to look at the underlying problems of which obesity is a symptom. The paths to healthy living appear to be agreed by everyone. One is healthy eating. This includes eating fresh foods – fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, good quality meat. It includes avoiding eating too much processed food especially food full of sugar and low in nutrients. So what is the situation? Many people cannot afford good food, in fact an increasing number cannot afford very much after housing is paid for. Hence increasing numbers of children go to school hungry.
    Exercise is important. How do you work up the energy to exercise when you spend your time worrying about when your minimum wage job will end and you will have no money? The standards of management shown by many employers are low. A very large percentage of people feel bullied at work. This leads to depression, and seeking comfort foods.
    The causes of the present problems in our society are obvious and well publicised. We need to face the radical changes that will be needed in our socirty to improve matters.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Feb '18 - 1:22pm

    As ever sense from Floella Benjamin.

    Very good from Tom here. We need to emphasise those aspects government can do, and encourage on the rest, but lead on both.

    Schools need to change to holistic places of excellence and well being.

    Work life balance a topic for employment policy.

    We have the examples in the progressive education and work developed in the earlier twentieth century built on Liberal business people, Rowntree et al.

    With this agenda we can be far more than the over used nanny state phrase. We can be quality of life advocates.

  • This is such an important issue, with obesity and the resultant health impact (inc cancer and diabetes) adding to NHS costs and the sum of human misery.
    How do we justify the spending of millions on chasing Olympic medals (benefiting mainly the athletes who can look forward to sponsorship deals and a lifetime of BBC punditry) while sport in schools and local sports centres suffer endless cuts. How many skeleton racers are there in the UK ? And how many who want to play basketball ? Time for joined up thinking.

  • Nonconformistradical 27th Feb '18 - 10:01pm

    “Many people cannot afford good food..”

    And perhaps may never have learned how to prepare a simple but nourishing meal from basic ingredients?

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