Skip to main content

Childhood Obesity

Volume 648: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2018

This June we published chapter 2 of the childhood obesity plan, which built on the world-leading measures we introduced in 2016 and included bold plans to halve childhood obesity by 2030. Our consultations on banning energy drinks and on calorie labelling are now open. Later this year we will be consulting on promotion and marketing restrictions, including suggestions of a 9 pm watershed.

The feedback that I receive locally in Waveney is that childhood obesity needs to be tackled by Government Departments, clinical commissioning groups, medical centres and councils working together, whether in schools or by encouraging breastfeeding and the preparation of weaning foods. Can the Minister confirm that he is pursuing such a multi-agency approach?

I can, and the plan covers many Departments, which was why I recently announced the trailblazer programme to support innovative local action with local authorities. That has the commitment of key policy teams across many Departments to support participating councils to harness the potential of what they can do and learn from others.

One in five children in Greater Manchester are classified as overweight or obese, but Prospect Vale Primary School in Heald Green is just one of the schools in my constituency that are getting on and getting moving through the Daily Mile campaign. Will the Minister join me in welcoming that initiative, which brings daily fun and fitness into schools? As more and more adults use wristbands to help them to get fit, what consideration is being given to the use of technology, such as in the UK Fit Kids programme?

Like my hon. Friend, I pay tribute to Prospect Vale. I have many similar examples in Winchester. We absolutely recognise the importance of physical activity in tackling obesity, which is why as part of chapter 2 we are promoting a new national ambition for all primary schools in England to adopt an active mile initiative.

This Government are investing heavily in school sports through the school sport premium. For instance, the money raised from the soft drinks industry levy—the sugar tax—is going directly to supporting schools’ investment in sports, for instance through the Daily Mile campaign, which has just been mentioned.

Scotland’s diet and healthy weight delivery plan contains specific recognition that breastfeeding can be a means of preventing obesity. Will Ministers engage with the all-party group on infant feeding and inequalities to see what more can be done in England through early breastfeeding to prevent children from becoming obese later on in life?

Yes, and I am a big supporter of breastfeeding—I have supported it a lot in my constituency, and we engage regularly with the sector. I will be interested in any proposals that the hon. Lady has.