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07 March 2018, 02:27 | Melissa Porter
Food industry ordered to cut calories to combat obesity
The UK has become the first country to challenge the food industry to cut calories in everyday foods by a fifth in an attempt to halt the rising levels of obesity in adults and children.
These significantly contribute to children's calorie intake and include ready meals, pizzas, savoury snacks and "on-the-go" deals.
If the 20% target is met within 5 years, more than 35,000 premature deaths could be prevented and around £9 billion in NHS healthcare and social care costs could be saved over a 25 year period.
Graham MacGregor, professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar, said: "We applaud PHE's plans to reformulate and cut excess calories consumption in what could be a groundbreaking campaign".
West Sussex is being urged to go on a diet by the public health watchdog - after new figures show more than 6 in 10 adults in the county are either overweight or obese.
"It's encouraging to see that the government's renewed focus looks not just at the food and drink bought for consumption at home, but also at takeaways, restaurants and cafés".
"Obesity is an increasingly common problem because for many people modern living involves eating excessive amounts of cheap, high-calorie food and spending a lot of time sitting down, at desks, on sofas or in cars". A four-year-old should consume no more than 1,300, while for males aged 17 and 18 it is about 3,000, but overweight and obese children are consuming up to 500 calories more than that.
An obese parent is more likely to have an obese child, who, in turn, is more likely to grow up into an obese adult.
The NHS spends around 8.3 billion U.S dollars a year treating obesity-related conditions. "These not only shorten lives, but also put unsustainable pressure on our health service". "Our calorie reduction programme - the first of its kind from any country in the world - will continue to build on the progress of our world-leading childhood obesity plan, which has led to positive steps by industry", said United Kingdom public health and social care minister Steve Brine. Aim for 400 calories at breakfast, and 600 each for lunch and dinner.
Asking people to make healthy food choices has proved hard; therefore, the new approach is asking the food industry to make this change.
"We are also working through our campaign and its partners, to give the public the information they need to help make those choices easier".
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