“Cost-effective prevention work by councils is critical to reducing the risk of people having their lives shortened by obesity-related conditions and tackling the stark health inequalities so ruthlessly exposed by this pandemic."
Responding to the Government’s Obesity Strategy, Cllr Paulette Hamilton, Vice Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“Obesity is our most serious public health challenge. It is a complex problem that is driving up major health conditions that risk bankrupting adult social care and NHS services.
“Cost-effective prevention work by councils is critical to reducing the risk of people having their lives shortened by obesity-related conditions and tackling the stark health inequalities so ruthlessly exposed by this pandemic. For any obesity strategy to be successful, the Government must reverse public health funding cuts and invest in these vital services so councils can supplement important population-wide interventions by intensively targeting those most at risk in their local areas.
“The LGA has led calls for years for better labelling of food and drink to help people understand how healthy a particular snack, meal or drink is. Plans to make calorie counts more widely available - including on alcoholic drinks – alongside tighter controls around promotions and a world-leading ban on junk food adverts on TV before 9pm are hugely positive.
“Voluntary ‘traffic light’ labelling is clear, effective and already popular with shoppers. We urge the Government to make it mandatory, so people have a single, standard and consistent system. While councils are not opposed to fast food businesses, they also need tougher planning powers to tackle any clustering of takeaway outlets or junk food advertising, for example near schools.”
The LGA has warned that hundreds of leisure facilities could close permanently or be unable to reopen without urgent funding which would damage the nation’s health and undermine the Government’s plans to tackle obesity.