Rockville, Maryland –Researchers argue that the UK government’s delay to restrict promotions of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) this October is a “step back” in the fight against rising levels of obesity, according to a new perspective on obesity. obesitythe flagship journal of the Obesity Society (TOS).
“gThe government’s decision will delay a much-needed transformation of retail food environments and their promoted products, both of which have a huge impact on the foods people buy and eat. “The potential outcome is a major setback in improving UK populations’ diets, obesity levels and health,” said Sally Moore, PhD, RD, School of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Leeds, UK. Moore is the corresponding author of the perspective.
Besides restricting promotions to less healthy food products, the planned approaches in the UK Child Obesity Scheme are additional regulations banning HFSS television advertising before 9pm and paid online advertising, both of which face similar delays. The young people referred to are those who have been described by the UK government as being “uniquely exposed to techniques used to promote sales”, according to the book’s perspective.
The researchers explain that the goal of the policies is to fundamentally change food retail environments that promote less healthy products and shift the balance toward healthier foods. Late regulations required scrutiny of the nutritional composition of each product to determine if certain types of products were allowed to be promoted or advertised. Prohibited products are classified as HFSS according to their calorie content and certain nutrients of public health concern while recognizing contributions from ingredients such as fruits, vegetables or fiber. Without this regulation, the authors write in the feature article, “It would be difficult to change commercial food retail environments.”
An obvious implication of the delay is that the expected reductions in calorie intake that were previously modeled on policy implementation will now be much smaller than anticipated. The delays are also expected to exacerbate the growing disparities in diet quality and obesity levels linked to socioeconomic status.
As a result, the authors explained, there is concern that, in justifying the delay, the UK government has referred to the current unprecedented global economic situation. Rising food and fuel costs are a concern for healthcare and nutrition professionals; So is the number of people at risk of food insecurity. “There is an urgent need to address this fairly and ethically by reducing social and economic disparities and poverty levels,” the authors said.
The authors argue that the UK government appears to have stepped back to solve the obesity epidemic while focusing on individual willpower rather than the food industry. “Willpower alone cannot explain successful weight management,” said Tom Butler, Ph. Moore and Butler add that “Delaying these policies will, once again, leave public health and clinical practitioners dealing with obesity with less effective approaches that focus on individual willpower and information provision.”
“The UK government’s reliance on restrictions on promoting less healthy foods as well as their advertisements has been a huge leap forward in public policy on nutrition. Not only will the adoption of such a policy be based on current scientific understanding, there is also significant public support in the UK for such policies. While individual willpower does indeed play a role in weight-related outcomes, providing a supportive environment plays an important role in empowering and empowering individuals in their initial and sustained efforts to reach healthy weights and lifestyles. said Travis Masterson, PhD, MSc, Broadhurst, Professor of Career Development for the Study Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Penn State University Masterson was not related to the perspective piece.
Perspective entitledUK government delays restricting promotion of less healthy foods: Dangerous implications of tackling obesity’ It can be found in Wiley’s online library for obesity.
Moore is chair of the British Dietetic Association’s (BDA) Free Public Health Professionals Group. She has previously advised on BDA’s corporate strategic partners, including UK food industry organisations. Butler is a BDA Committee Member and Scientific Officer at the British Society for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.
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The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading organization of scientists and health professionals dedicated to understanding and reversing the obesity epidemic and its negative health, economic and social impacts. By bringing together the perspective of researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and patients, TOS promotes innovative research, education, and evidence-based clinical care to improve the health and well-being of all people with obesity. For more information visit www.obesity.org
Sally Moore is chair of the British Dietetic Association’s (BDA) Group of Public Health Professionals Free. She has previously advised on BDA’s corporate strategic partners, including UK food industry organisations. Tom Butler is a committee member of the BDA Group and Scientific Officer of the British Society for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.
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