“National emergency” becomes national joke as childhood obesity strategy is kicked into the long grass. 

It’s only three weeks since the UK Secretary of State for Health declared, seven years after a report was published saying that childhood obesity was out of control, that childhood obesity was a “national emergency”. So you might think that, in the face of this emergency, that the government might have an idea, or a plan or something. Anything. Well now we know, they have nothing. Nix, nada…

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/26/childhood-obesity-strategy-delayed-sugar-tax-unlikely
The childhood obesity strategy is delayed until “the summer” – it will never see the light of day – and the tax on sugar looks to be abandoned. Big food wins again at the cost of people’s health. More obesity, more diabetes, more insulin and other drugs prescribed and health service budgets drained away and more limbs amputated. Good job.

Here is the start of the horror to come. Hospital admissions for children to have their decayed teeth removed are rising at an alarming rate in the UK.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/27/england-hospital-treatment-children-severe-tooth-decay
This is children whose teeth are so severely decayed that that have to go to hospital for surgery to have them removed. We know what causes dental decay in children. It’s sugar. No ifs, no buts, no dodgy data or equivocation, it’s sugar.

If the UK Health Secretary can’t find enough evidence to link sugar to obesity and diabetes (and why can’t he???)  at the very least he could try to save some childrens’ teeth!! 

A cup of tea flavoured sugar

The full horror of what is being sold as tea  etc. is revealed today by Action on Sugar here:

http://www.actiononsugar.org/News%20Centre/Surveys%20/2016/170865.html

The worst offender is (as usual) Starbucks whose hot mulled fruit drink (what on earth is that?) comes with a mind-blowing 99g or 25 teaspoons of sugar!!! Imagine stirring 25 teaspoons of sugar into a cup of tea!! 

Starbucks’s response to coming top of the poll of sugar poisoners was so perfunctory as to be hilarious:

“Earlier this year we committed to reduce added sugar in our indulgent drinks by 25% by the end of 2020.”

The end of 2020? Why does it take four years to stop opening a bottle of sugar syrup and pouring it in people’s tea. Get real Starbucks and stop giving people diabetes, and while you are at it, pay some tax.

UK Secretary for Health Delares Childhood Obesity a “national emergency” as Jamie Oliver Prepares to be “really upset”. 

The joke that is UK government policy on obesity descends further into farce.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/07/childhood-obesity-national-emergency-jeremy-hunt-health-sugar-tax-jamie-oliver
The current UK Secretary of State for Health today suddenly woke up to the fact that the UK is the most obese country in Europe and that childhood obesity is effectively out of control. 

It is now over 7 years since the government commissioned Foresight report on obesity in the UK 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reducing-obesity-future-choices

warned that being overweight was now the normal state in the UK and unless we urgently implemented a strategy to tackle it: 

“The rate of increase in overweight and obesity, in children and adults,
is striking. By 2050, Foresight modelling indicates that 60% of adult men, 50% of adult women and about 25% of all children under 16 could be obese. Obesity increases the risk of a range of chronic diseases, particularly type 2 diabetes, stroke and coronary heart disease and also cancer and arthritis. The NHS costs attributable to overweight and obesity are projected to double to £10 billion per year by 2050. The wider costs to society and business are estimated to reach £49.9 billion per year (at today’s prices).

And yet, seven years later, the policy remains unformed and unstated and even the relatively simple part of the solution that would make the sugar manufacturers pay part of the cost of cleaning up this mess, a sugar tax, remains something that the government might do but then again might not. The SoS for health still cannot say whether it is government policy or not and if not, what might be. So while he declares it a “national emergency” he has no plan, no solution and no clue.

Meanwhile Jamie Oliver threatens to get really, really upset if the government doesn’t do something, but also without saying with any clarity what the something might be. Jamie’s solution sounds even more bizarre than no solution at all, seeming to involve going a bit “ninja” at the same time as going “underground” and ejecting the current government from power although then adding that that bit probably won’t make any difference. He does promise that the solution, whatever it is, won’t be pretty… 

So this is the current state of the debate on obesity in the UK: either a) no idea what to do, to who or by when or b) a surreal pseudo-guerilla political diatribe. I do, however, agree with Jamie Oliver that the solution is unlikely to be pretty if only because the problem is decidedly ugly.

On my way to somewhere else….

image

I found the Tate and Lyle sugar factory in east London. I liked the banner “save our sugar” hung from the building. I suspect it is more to do with cane production rather than obesity but I feel the pain. As the industry shuts down we need to replace the work BTW see earlier posts on sugar and slavery. Not a good history.