Steve Double MP tackles Government on childhood obesity strategy

Speaking in Parliament this week, Steve said:

“We are facing a crisis of obesity among our children. That is storing up trouble for the future for our nation, as it has implications for the personal health of those individuals, and will create wider social problems and economic challenges—loss of productivity because of ill health and the cost to the NHS

“We need to be realistic. The issue is complex and there is no silver bullet that will solve the problem of childhood obesity in one hit. There needs to be a comprehensive plan and a combination of measures to encourage greater activity and participation in sport and to address aspects such as diet, labelling and lifestyle. Parents must be at the heart of any strategy. We cannot replace their role and responsibility in raising their children and deciding what is best for their children’s welfare and future. We must never lose sight of that. Many parents feel that they are fighting a losing battle. The greatest influence on many children growing up today is no longer the parents and the household, but the media and the marketing budgets of multinational companies. Even the simple fact that in most shops a bottle of water is more expensive than an equivalent-sized can of fizzy, sugary drink… is evidence of the losing battle that many parents feel they are fighting in teaching and enabling their children to make the best choices.”

“Having looked at the evidence, I have come around and now believe that the Government should seriously consider introducing a sugar tax, because it would send a clear message about what is right and help people to make the right choice.”

“I think that a sugar tax would be another step towards helping people, and particularly helping parents to help their children, to make the right choices. It would send a clear message that sugary drinks are not good for us. The Government would also be seen to be providing leadership on the issue, making a very clear and bold statement.”

“A tax on sugary drinks is not a silver bullet. It needs to be part of an overall package and a comprehensive strategy that includes better labelling, as we have heard, better education and encouraging physical activity. But I have been convinced that it needs to be seriously considered as part of the strategy to send that clear message and help parents make the right choice.”

I encourage the Minister to take back the clear message that the Government should seriously consider introducing a tax on sugary drinks as part of the overall strategy. It is something we need to see move forward, and a clear message needs to be sent.”

Speaking after the debate, Steve said:

“I was pleased to see so many of my colleagues working together to ensure the Government hears loud and clear the importance of the childhood obesity crisis to our nation and the steps we need to take in order to combat it”.

“While imposing s tax on sugar would not be the immediately obvious answer for myself and many of my Conservative colleagues, in this case the evidence shows that such a measure could well be the strong message we need to send to the food and drinks industry to help them to produce healthier products. The debate continues and I will continue to push for these measures and to do everything I can to help tack the root causes of the obesity crisis.”

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