New food rules needed to tackle child obesity, say Greens

By staff writers
March 4, 2012

The Green Party of England and Wales, meeting in conference in Liverpool last week, has voted to recommend progressive new food legislation to tackle childhood obesity.

Nearly a third of children in the UK are classified as overweight and obesity costs the country around £2 billion annually, according to health reports.

The problem shortens lives, reduces self-esteem and causes long-term health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic heart disease.

The Green Party believes "Everyone has the right to enjoy a sufficient diet of nutritious and safe food for a healthy life" and that the self-regulated approach of the food industry has failed."

Normally occurring in the older generation, experts now fear that problematic health conditions will develop in teenagers as a consequence of their childhood high fat, sugar-laden junk-food diets.

Apart from the devastating effects on health, junk food is frequently sourced from unsustainable farming methods and presented in excessive, low degradable packaging which damages the environment. Its contents are poorly labelled and it is advertised to children at any opportunity, who then pester their beleaguered parents for it

In 2006, The Food Standards Agency called for a ban on all junk food commercials before the 9pm watershed to protect children's health, but this has been successfully resisted by the food industry who prefer to blame obesity on lack of exercise, rather than acknowledging the contribution of poor diet to being overweight.

The Green Party has voted at its National Conference in Liverpool to prohibit all marketing of unhealthy food and drink targeted at children, not just pre-television watershed, but also "anything that acts as advertising, such as promotional websites, text messages, in-store placements and cinema advertising".


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