Steve Brine has revealed Chapter 2 of the government's plan for action to significantly reduce childhood obesity, which will be focussed on supporting healthier choices.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday 25th June, Mr Brine, in his role as Public Health Minister, said that, informed by the latest evidence, the plan sets a new national ambition to halve childhood obesity and significantly reduce the gap in obesity between children from the most and least deprived areas by 2030.
He said: "Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health problems that the country faces. Nearly a quarter of children are overweight or obese before they start school, and the proportion rises to more than a third by the time they leave.
"The burden is being felt hardest in the most deprived areas, with children growing up in low-income households more likely to be overweight or obese than more affluent children."
The Minister went on to set out how when they become obese adults, they face an increased risk of developing some forms of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart and liver disease.
Obesity is currently estimated to cost the NHS and taxpayers around £6.1 billion per year, and with associated costs to society factored in estimates can reach £27 billion per year or higher.
The measures outlined in Chapter 2 aim to address the heavy promotion and advertising of food and drink products that are high in fat, salt and sugar, on television, online and in shops, while at the same time providing parents with the information that they need in order to make healthy, informed decisions about the food that they and their children eat.
He added: "We are also promoting a new national ambition for all primary schools to adopt an "active mile" initiative, like the Daily Mile. We will be launching a trailblazer programme, working closely with local authorities to show what can be achieved and to find solutions to problems created by barriers at a local level.
"Childhood obesity is a complex issue that has been decades in the making, and we recognise that no single action or plan will help us to solve the challenge on its own. Our ambition requires a concerted effort and a united approach by businesses, local authorities, schools, health professionals, and families up and down the country. I look forward to working with them all."
More information ...
You can read the strategy here