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Obesity Reduction

Volume 679: debated on Tuesday 1 September 2020

The Prime Minister is clear that we must care for the health of our population. In July, we published the ambitious strategy to empower adults and children to live healthier lives, taking forward actions from the previous three chapters of the childhood obesity plan and laying out a series of initiatives. It sets out an overarching campaign to reduce obesity and has measures to get the nation fitter—to protect, importantly, against covid-19, to protect the NHS, but most importantly, to improve individuals’ health and wellbeing and quality of life.

There is strong support for the Government’s ambition to reduce obesity among children and young people, in particular. There are many calls for advertising bans for broadcasters for high salt and sugar content, for example, but those are not as straightforward as is suggested, because there is the risk of driving advertising online, which is far more targeted and, as some believe, might be much more effective in communicating the message to attract people to buy those products. Does the Minister recognise that this is a complex picture that needs lots of analysis before clear policies are decided upon?

I thank my right hon. Friend for that question. I know that as a keen marathon runner, he has a keen interest in us all keeping fit. I could not agree with him more: our children’s online watching is considerably greater than their watching of terrestrial television, and that is precisely why we have included a consultation in the online space to ensure that we have fully considered all the impacts that he just mentioned before we move forward and any changes to advertising restrictions before they are introduced.