The cross-party Health Select Committee in Parliament has today released its report on childhood obesity. The committee has assessed the causes, scale and consequences of childhood obesity and has highlighted nine key areas for improvement. Currently, one fifth of children are overweight or obese when they begin school, with the figure increasing to one third by the time they complete primary school.

Obesity is currently estimated to cost the NHS £5.1 billion every year and is one of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes, which accounts for £8.8 billion a year, almost 9% of the NHS budget.

The report is calling for a tax on sugary soft drinks with all proceeds targeted to help those children at greatest risk of obesity. It is also calling for a whole range of initiatives including strong controls on price promotions and on the marketing and advertising of unhealthy food and drink.

Emma Reynolds, Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East and a member of the House of Commons’ Health Select Committee, is urging the government to take bold action to tackle the rise in childhood obesity.

Emma said: “Obesity is a growing problem in the UK and Wolverhampton. Children in our city suffer from above average levels of obesity. Over a quarter of our five-year-olds, and over 40% of Year 7 pupils are either overweight or obese.

“The government needs to adopt the whole range of initiatives proposed. This includes a sugary drinks tax, controls on promotions and marketing and improved education in schools.

“I believe that a sugary drinks tax should be introduced to influence behaviour and drive positive change, with all proceeds going towards improving the health of children.”

November 2015