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Disappointing lack of progress in sugar reduction programmes PHE report shows

In response to the year one report on Public Health England’s Sugar Reduction and Wider Reformulation Programme, BMA board of science committee chair Professor Dame Parveen Kumar said:

“These figures show a very disappointing lack of progress in tackling the massive problem of childhood obesity.  Perhaps this is not surprising as the government rowed back on its promises in 2016 and produced a weak plan rather than the robust strategy promised.1

“While there’s been limited progress in reducing sugar in some categories, overall it hasn’t even come close to meeting the target five per cent reduction.

“What this proves is that relying on manufacturers to voluntarily reduce the amount of sugar in their products is a false economy, and change will only come through a mandatory approach backed up by regulation.

“With the UK displaying the highest levels of obesity in western Europe, with one in three children overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, the government should do everything in its power to tackle this issue, and must think long and hard about making reformulating unhealthy food mandatory.”


The British Medical Association (BMA) is the voice of doctors and medical students in the UK. It is an apolitical professional organisation and independent trade union, representing doctors and medical students from all branches of medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the highest standards of care.

1 – Read the BMA’s response to the government’s childhood obesity strategy here.

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