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Plans to tackle the UK’s rapidly rising obesity rate could be scrapped after the government ordered a review of nanny-state rules.
The Treasury has ordered a review of measures already in place and to be introduced next month to discourage Britons from eating junk food.
A ban on displaying unhealthy food at the register, sold as part of multi-buy deals and advertised before 9 p.m., could hit the chopping block.
The sugar tax – which will charge soft drink makers if their drinks contain too much sugar – is also under review, despite the fact that it leads to British consumption less.
The move is part of Prime Minister Liz Truss’ plans to ease pressure on businesses during the cost of living crisis.
But campaigners have warned that the “very concerning” review would be “reckless” and a waste of time and money if already in law.
The Treasury has ordered a review of measures already in place and due to be introduced next month to discourage Britons from eating junk food
WHAT MEASURES IS THE CROCHET BLOCK SEEN?
Banned on TV and online junk food ads
Proposals state that foods high in fat, sugar or salt would be banned on TV and online before 9 p.m.
The ministers believed that the ban before the watershed would lead to fewer children seeing it and being tempted to buy the unhealthy food.
Research shows that about half of all food TV ads are for unhealthy foods, and after 6:00 pm that’s 60 percent.
There is some evidence that seeing unhealthy foods in advertisements affects eating habits in the short and long term.
And the government even considered banning online junk food ads 24 hours a day.
Terminate BOGOF Deals
According to Boris Johnson’s plans, junk food would be excluded from buy-one-get-one-free deals.
Data shows that the UK spends more on buying food products for promotion than any other European country.
Ban on displaying junk food in prominent locations
Foods with a high fat, sugar or salt content would be banned from prominent places in stores.
These include high-traffic areas such as cash registers and entrances.
More than 40 percent of the food and drink in prominent retail locations is unhealthy, according to analysis from 2018.
Ministers hope that shops will instead promote healthier choices and give more discounts on fruit and vegetables.
Calories on menus
From April, restaurants, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 employees were required to display calories on their menus.
Eating out has become a hot topic in recent years, with 75 percent of Brits going to a restaurant, fast food chain or takeaway every week.
This causes Britons to unintentionally consume about 200 more calories per day on the days they eat out, compared to cooking at home.
The ministers said calories on menus would help people make healthier choices.
The tax, in effect since 2018, will charge soft drink manufacturers 18 cents per liter if their drinks are too sugary.
One review found it stopped Britons from buying as many soft drinks as possible, with a 10 percent drop in sales.
The UK’s entire anti-obesity strategy, put in place under Boris Johnson, could be dumped under the review, which is ‘deregulatory in focus’ the guard revealed.
The former prime minister announced the package of measures in July 2020 following his fight with Covid.
Under the plans, Britons were urged to lose weight to beat Covid and protect the NHS – with dozens of studies showing the higher risk of serious illness, hospitalization, ICU admission and death.
The policy stipulated that restaurants, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 employees would have to include calories on menus – a policy that has been implemented since April.
Foods high in fat, sugar and salt would be banned from TV and online ads and buy-one-get-one-free deals before 9 p.m. Free refills for soft drinks also had to be scrapped.
But in May, Johnson announced that the measures — which would have affected hundreds of products, including pizzas, convenience foods, sweets and pastries — were pushed from October 2022 to 2023 and 2024 due to the cost of living crisis.
However, a ban on displaying junk food in prominent retail locations — such as the end of aisles and checkouts — was expected to be enforced from next month.
But now, with a broad overhaul of the government, all policies could be dumped for good.
Even the sugar tax, which has been in effect since 2018 and charges soft drink manufacturers 18 cents per liter if their drinks are too sugary, can be removed. One review found it stopped Britons from buying as many soft drinks as possible, with a 10 percent drop in sales.
A source told The Guardian that new Health Minister Therese Coffey has no appetite for ‘babysitting’.
But the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, which is committed to reducing health inequalities, was “stunned” by the prospect of the purge of health policies.
Katharine Jenner, director of the Obesity Health Alliance, organizations committed to reducing obesity, said scrapping the plans would be a kick in the teeth.
She told MailOnline: ‘We are very concerned about rumors suggesting that the government could drop obesity policies designed to put healthy and affordable food in the spotlight.
‘This will not help the cost of living in the short term, and in the long term it would have serious consequences for our health, our economy and our NHS.
Poor diets, exacerbated by lockdown, have led to an increase in childhood obesity and further exacerbated existing inequalities.
‘Large, multinational companies promote and advertise unhealthy food and drink among lower incomes.
“It would be reckless and a great shame to waste government and corporate time and money trying to roll back this obesity policy, which is fact-based and already legislated.
‘This policy is popular with the public who want to make it easier to make healthier choices. Not implementing this evidence-based policy is a kick in the teeth for families who are doing their best to live well on a budget.’
Experts warn that rising obesity rates are the UK’s biggest health challenge, due to links to chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, some cancers and stroke.
Being too large can also affect a person’s quality of life if daily activities cause shortness of breath, sweating, and joint and back pain.
An increasing number of overweight and obese people are also fueling the NHS, which already has to spend £6.1bn a year on treating preventable conditions caused by overeating.
And based on current trends, the figure is expected to reach £9.7 billion by 2050.
In England about 36 percent of adults are overweight and another 28 percent are obese.
And experts warn that if current trends continue, people may be more likely to be obese than a healthy weight by 2030. And seven in ten will be considered overweight by 2040.
Rates are also rising among children. One in seven young people in shelters was obese last April, compared with one in ten before the pandemic.
The proportion that were overweight by the time they got to year 6 rose to one in four, up from one in five before Covid.
While experts note that restrictions on junk food offers and ads aren’t a panacea, campaigners say it’s an important step forward in helping Britons make healthier choices.