01 May Childhood Obesity in the UK
This paper proposes a series of population interventions to improve children’s diet with the aim to both directly reduce the incidence of childhood obesity and to encourage the development of healthy eating behaviours in children. Proposals are split into three population levels at which they can be enacted – industry, schools and parents and carers.
At the industry level, the paper proposes a comprehensive system of Pigouvian taxation on foodstuffs, based on their nutritional content; the introduction of compulsory front-of-pack labelling using a joint GDA and traffic lights system; and the regulation of advertising of unhealthy foods directed at children on the internet or before 9pm on television. At the school level, this paper proposes the provision of free school lunches to all pupils, as well as strict policies on what can be included in packed lunches; Ofsted inspection of whether schools ensure their students eat one healthy meal per day; and the introduction compulsory cookery classes. Finally for parents and carers, this paper proposes providing materials and educational sessions to parents on how to provide a healthy diet and how to recognise when their child is overweight.