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Children’s Diet

Volume 578: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2014

The Government’s focus is on reducing calories overall rather than focusing solely on sugar, and informing consumers so that they eat fewer calories, including sugar, is key to the responsibility deal. We have 36 companies cutting calories under the calorie reduction pledge, which is often through the reformulation of popular products, and our Change4Life campaign informs families how they can improve their diet and health. Some of the early evidence from Public Health England’s January smart swaps campaign is really encouraging.

Blimey, what a cop-out! With a third of children under 18 either obese or overweight, what action has been agreed with the Secretary of State for Education to stop the consumption of sugary drinks in schools?

My understanding is that the consumption of sugary drinks is banned in schools. I have discussed that with the Department for Education, but I am happy to take up the point.

I must correct the hon. Gentleman on his point about childhood obesity. Let us give credit where it is due. Childhood obesity levels are for the first time levelling off and we are beginning to see some progress, although there is much further to go. We have a straightforward disagreement. The Government believe we need to give people information. The Opposition believe in a top-down, state-driven approach.