Calories to be cut in popular foods in government drive to tackle childhood obesity

Calories to be cut in popular foods in government drive to tackle childhood obesity

With one in five children overweight or obese when they start primary school, rising to one in three children by the time they leave, Food for Life welcomes today’s news that the Government are tackling the high calories in the foods children consume the most, in the next stage of the childhood obesity plan. 

Ready meals, pizzas, burgers, savoury snacks and sandwiches are the kinds of foods likely to be included in the programme.

New targets, set by Public Health England will reduce the calories in food and drinks bought in supermarkets, takeaways and restaurants as part of the government's drive to tackle child obesity in England. The size of products may be reduced or ingredients changed.

The targets are expected to be set within a year and will be voluntary. However, officials have said that if industry does not respond they would be prepared to put legislation in place.

Rob Percival, Senior Policy Officer at Soil Association’s Food for Life said:

“Reformulating the recipes of popular foods, such as pizzas and ready meals, will help to cut our national calorie intake.

PHE’s calorie reduction programme should be welcomed. But more importantly, we need in parallel to work towards a wholesale shift in our relationship with food, so that freshly made meals, cooked from scratch and packed with veg, are the norm.

We need to change the environment in which our decisions are made, reducing the availability of ultra-processed foods and making it good food, real food, readily available. This has been the focus of our Food for Life schools programme.”

The Food for Life School Award makes it normal, easy, and enjoyable for children to eat well. They learn about where food comes from and how it is grown, they learn to cook, and the results are striking: children in Food for Life schools are twice as likely to eat their 5-a-day compared to children in other schools. If every primary school in the country was a Food for Life school, a million more children would be eating their 5-a-day, and enjoying a healthier and more relationship with the food they consume daily.

Click here to find out more about the Food for Life School Awards programme and how it is positively impacting on children’s health.