Government and junk food industry must bear brunt of responsibility for obesity crisis, says BMA

by BMA Media team

BMA press release.

Last reviewed: 15 July 2021
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Responding to launch of part two of the National Food Strategy1, which calls on the Government to commit to a package of reforms in order to build a better food system for the nation, BMA board of science chair Professor Dame Parveen Kumar said:

 “The BMA welcomes the key recommendations outlined in this strategy, including strengthening taxation of sugar and salt, which will be a key driver in encouraging manufacturers to reformulate their products to be less unhealthy.  Voluntary measures have so far failed to have the impact that is needed, and a tax at the point of production is the only option if we are to truly get to grips with the dangerous obesity crisis in this country.

 “This strategy rightly addresses the need to tackle stark inequalities in rates of obesity and obesity-related illness. The implementation of these measures will ensure that the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda works for everyone, closing the unacceptable health gap between the rich and the poor which has no place in society today. Extending the temporary uplift of universal credit is one such example of how this can be achieved, given the link between higher income and healthier food choices.

 “This is not just about protecting the health of the population; this is also about protecting the NHS and the importance of decreasing demand on services for obesity-related treatment in the longer term.

“The responsibility must not be placed on the individual alone, particularly when the food environment is so stacked against them. The brunt of responsibility lies with the Government and the junk food industry and we urge them to take ownership and remove the obstacles that are placing the health of so many at serious risk.”

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. National Food Strategy report can be found here.