Public Health England wants all adults to get into the habit of counting the calories to limit their consumption at breakfast lunch and dinner
07 March, 2018, 16:52
PHE said that the food industry could cut calories by changing the ingredients of their products, reducing portion size or changing their marketing tactics.
Sandwiches, pizza, savoury biscuits, bread "with additions" (such as ciabatta with olives), pies and pastries are among products targeted by Public Health England (PHE) in a bid to tackle childhood and adult obesity, which it said costs the NHS £6bn each year.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive at PHE, said: "Britain needs to go on a diet". Adults consume on average in excess of 200-300 calories each day, the paper added.
'Industry can help families by finding innovative ways to lower the calories in the food we all enjoy'.
"It is not an attack on overweight folk, it is about getting more options and extending knowledge and more choices".
According to PHE and DHSC, this shift reflects evidence included in a report released today (6 March) that overweight boys and girls consume up to 500 and 290 calories a day too many respectively. "To be successful in improving the nation's health, it is also vital that this work delivers appropriate, clear and easily understandable calorie messages for shoppers and consumers".
As it did when it published targets for sugar content reduction past year, PHE has suggested calorie content can be reduced by changing recipes, reducing portion sizes and encouraging consumers to purchase lower-calorie products.
The 20 per cent reduction target is the result of analysis of the new calorie consumption data, experience of sugar and salt reduction programmes and over 20 meetings with the food industry and stakeholders.
She added: "To get traction on this, the big-selling things need to change".
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"The availability of fast food at pocket money prices and the advertising of unhealthy food and drinks to children add to the problem", he added.
'We have moved on from it [obesity] affecting a small section of society, it is the norm now'.
"This is a lot of calories - 500 calories is an extra meal a day, it is a lot, and that's why we have an obesity problem in this country".
Steve Brine, Member of Parliament and public health and social care minister, said, "There can be no doubt that obesity is now one of our greatest challenges - one that is fuelling an epidemic of preventable illnesses like Type-II diabetes and cancer".
The health body pledged to hold the food industry to account and said that it will highlight calorie reduction progress among manufacturers or retailers.
Asking people to make healthy food choices has proved hard; therefore, the new approach is asking the food industry to make this change.
The agency is also launching a campaign encouraging adults to consume 400 calories at breakfast and 600 each at lunch and dinner.
"Busy lives and too much food mean we're often eating more food than we realise - especially when we're grabbing food out and about".
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