Policy briefing

Policy briefing: childhood obesity

Your essential guide to the government's strategy
Obese child on scales

Essential facts

Nearly a third of children aged 2-15 in England are overweight or obese. Younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying so for longer. Reducing obesity levels is a major public health challenge as the condition doubles the risk of dying prematurely. Obese adults are more likely to develop health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression. Treating conditions related to obesity is a major financial burden on the NHS, costing more than £5 billion a year.

Tackling obesity. Picture: Alamy
What’s new

The government’s plan for tackling childhood obesity was branded ‘underwhelming and a missed opportunity’ by charities, the RCN, medical royal colleges and campaign groups when it was published last week. Measures include a voluntary target to cut sugar by 5% in children's food and drink over the next year. Public Health England will monitor voluntary progress

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