Healthy food strategy needed urgently
Labour MP Valerie Vaz is calling for an urgent strategy on food education for the public, to tackle the "growing crisis" of poor public health.
“There needs to be an urgent joint strategy between the Government, the Food Industry and Public Health England,” Vaz told Central Lobby.
“These strategies should include education about food as to what constitutes a healthy and balanced diet; compulsory use of the Food Standards Agency’s front-of-pack traffic light labelling system so consumers have all the information; and Public Health England should be given the resources to take the lead on resolving this growing crisis.”
A member of the Health Committee, Vaz’s comments come the same week that Slimming World has published survey results showing most people trying to lose weight suffer cravings in the same way as drug addicts.
The survey of 5,139 Slimming World members coincided with a BBC2 documentary looking at the way people's emotions are affected by food and how the world we live in encourages people to eat unhealthily.
94% of slimmers surveyed admitted they have tried using food to make themselves feel better when they were feeling low, and 76% compared their cravings for high-fat food with drugs, alcohol or tobacco.
Commenting on the findings, Vaz pointed to the costly public health issues that a comprehensive and cross-industry food education strategy would help to tackle:
“This is a growing concern that requires a number of solutions, each year £17.9 billion is spent treating preventable diseases associated with behavioural factors.”