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Obesity: Children

Volume 459: debated on Wednesday 2 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made towards meeting the public services agreement target of July 2004 that by 2010 the increase in obesity among children aged under 11 years will be halted. (131947)

Despite the very challenging nature of the public service agreement (PSA) target we have made good progress. For example:

OFCOM has announced restrictions to ensure no high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) products are broadcast advertised to pre-school children; in programmes specifically made for children; or in programmes of particular appeal to children up to 16 years old.

The 2005-06 school sport survey found that overall 80 per cent. of pupils participate in at least two hours of high quality physical education and school sport a week, meeting our PSA target early.

New, tougher nutritional standards for school food have been announced and those for school lunches have been in place since September 2006.

We launched the Top Tips for Top Mums campaign, in March 2007, to help parents tackle the four key barriers to children eating fruit and vegetables (cost, fussy eaters, limited time/cooking skills, and a lack of structured meal occasions). This was the first in a series of campaigns using social marketing approaches.

Obviously tackling obesity is a complex issue, requiring action on a number of fronts and working closely with families and individuals to change behaviour. It is extremely positive that internationally our approach is regarded as good practice, informing for example, the World Health Organisation Europe Charter on Counteracting Obesity, published in November last year.