Responding to the Public Health England sugar reduction progress report which shows that the overall sales of sugary drinks has risen, BMA board of science chair Professor Dame Parveen Kumar said:
“This report highlights the woeful lack of progress that has been made in attempting to get a handle on the obesity crisis which has a dangerous grasp on too many children and adults in this nation.
“While it is positive that milk-based drinks targets have been met, these represent only a small proportion of the market – and overall sales of sugary food have risen, not fallen. This should serve as an urgent call to action on limiting the use of digital advertising of sugary foods, which still clearly has a strong reach.
“With supermarkets, restaurants and cafes only reducing their sugar content by 3 per cent as opposed to the 20 per cent voluntary target, it is clear that this voluntary approach is not working. This is further exemplified by the success of the soft drinks levy - now repeated with milk-based drinks - showing that tougher mandatory measures are truly the only way to get a sufficient handle on this.
“The Government has made some positive commitments in their obesity strategy announced in the summer and we now need to see the acceleration of these measures with the Government once and for all standing up to the junk food industry.
“The pandemic has shone a light on the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. The Prime Minster himself has acknowledged that obesity is a serious problem for the nation – he must now match these words with action.”
Notes to editors
The PHE sugar reduction progress report is here
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