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Exclusive: Government to use Team GB success to launch long-delayed obesity strategy

MPs plan to use Team GB's success to launch obesity drive. Credit: PA

The government will launch its long-delayed obesity strategy tomorrow after a year of delays and u-turns.

Ministers plan to use the success of Team GB at Rio as a launch pad for their plans to improve the nations' health.

It is understood daily exercise for school children will be at the heart of the strategy, with Ofsted responsible for monitoring provision.

With a third of children leaving primary school overweight the government has been under pressure to come up with a bold plan with ambitious targets.

Linking the strategy to the Olympic celebrations is an audacious move designed to capitalise on the inspiration offered by Britain's leading sportsmen and women.

The more cynical may suggest it is also a useful distraction from claims by some health campaigners that the government has watered down some of the report's contents.

A third of children leave primary school overweight. Credit: PA

Plans to restrict television junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed have been shelved, despite Public Health England recommending tighter controls on marketing and promotion.

After intense lobbying from manufacturers, it will also be interesting to see just how far the government has gone on pushing for the reformulation of foods high in sugar.

Laura Trott is the first British woman to win four Olympic gold medals Credit: Reuters

Any measures will be voluntary, but with tough targets that will be enforced if companies fail to act.

Post-Brexit, ministers won't want to over-burden companies in economically uncertain times.

But that needs to be balanced against the impact of poor diet on the NHS.

  • Did government lack the appetite to go after food manufacturers?

Obesity-related conditions currently have a greater impact on the cash-strapped NHS budget than alcohol and smoking combined.

But after months of prevarication, it seems Team GB may have delivered more than just medals - by finally getting the Obesity Strategy over the finishing line.