Jamie Oliver attacks Government for failure to tackle childhood obesity

Celebrity chef says we should go to “war” on the issue following claims that plans formulated by David Cameron have been watered down

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Jamie Oliver has attacked Theresa May’s Government for apparently failing to follow through on David Cameron’s pledge to tackle childhood obesity.

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The celebrity chef has likened the battle to curb the problem of overweight children as a “war” following claims that promises to fight the issue have been watered down by the new Conservative administration.

He said: “Obesity is killing huge amounts of people, well before their time. This is a war, if you are worried about the thing that hurts British people the most, it ain’t ISIS, right?”

Oliver made his remarks in an edition of Channel 4’s Dispatches which airs on Monday night and suggests that Theresa May’s government has actively dismantled David Cameron’s obesity strategy.

According to Dispatches, entire sections of David Cameron’s original plans no longer exist under proposals now formulated by the new Government headed by Theresa May.

These include proposals to cut childhood obesity by half within the next ten years, which it was originally hoped would mean 800,000 fewer obese children by 2026. This pledge have now seemingly been abandoned, with a new plan promising to “significantly reduce” childhood obesity within the next ten years.

The plan to force restaurants, cafés and takeaways to put calorie information on menus has also been scrapped according to the programme.

Commenting on the claims, Oliver added: “I don’t know where to start. This should go to the Trades Description Act because that says an ‘action plan’ and there’s hardly any action in there. When you look at how the plan came out at midnight, next to the A Level results, while the whole of government’s on holiday, it absolutely screams out we don’t care.

“I’d say it’s never too late to say I’m sorry. And, just sort of you know, start again.”

Oliver also appeared at a panel event in east London on Monday morning in which he reiterated his disappointment and called for legislation banning unhealthy food in children’s packed lunches.

He also called for more honest labelling of “dishonest” food such as granola which he said are marketed as healthy but have lots of hidden sugar and fat.

“At least a chocolate bar is honest,” he said.

Another advocate for healthy eating, former Olympic rower James Cracknell also appeared on the panel. On tonight’s programme he said:  “This strategy to tackle childhood obesity… one part of the key plan is to promote exercise in children. It’s not the silver bullet that is going to cure everything, and no exercise specialist is going to say exercise is the thing that cures all weight problems.

“Exercise is important to build in but it’s also important to build in eating the right things and also understanding why those are the right things to eat. At the moment it’s presented as the plan, primarily because it’s actually quite cheap to do exercise… I’m disappointed because the effect of it down the line is going to impact every member of society because it’s going to bankrupt the NHS.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Our plan to tackle child obesity is ground-breaking: no other developed country has done anything as ambitious. The Government has intentionally taken a careful and measured approach which will reduce obesity. We are taking bold action though the Soft Drinks Industry Levy to cut the amount of sugar consumed by young people. Alongside this, our restrictions on advertising and promotion are among the toughest in the world. These steps will make a real difference to help reverse a problem that has been decades in the making, but we have not ruled out further action if the right results are not seen.”

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The Secret Plan to Save Fat Britain: Channel 4 Dispatches airs on Monday October 31 at 8pm