Sweets junk food obesity

It’s unfair and ridiculous that high-sugar out of home products are not being reformulated to the same extent, says Professor MacGregor

Sir, While we welcome PHE’s first assessment of progress on the government’s sugar reduction programme, it’s evident that much more must be done - particularly on biscuits, chocolate confectionery, puddings and the large portions of high-sugar products sold in the out of home sector. It’s unfair and ridiculous that these products are not being reformulated to the same extent.

With reports that half of all Brits will be obese in 30 years, mandatory targets across HFSS products must form a crucial part of the prime minister’s long-awaited obesity strategy.

Our seven-point evidence-based plan (also launched this week) strongly urges the government to introduce a calorie tax on confectionery, nutritional labelling on menus & packaging and a ban on the marketing of HFSS products. Cigarette advertising has been prohibited in the UK for many years because it causes cancer and cardiovascular disease, yet HFSS foods and drinks, now a bigger cause of death and disability, can be advertised without strong restrictions to vulnerable children.

If Theresa May is to deliver on her promise to tackle health inequalities, it’s imperative she takes decisive action where all concerned comply.

Professor Graham MacGregor, Chair of Action on Sugar/Action on Salt