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Hugh's Letter

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Following Britain’s Fat Fight with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall 97,869 of you signed his letter to the UK government with some serious questions about the obesity crisis. A huge thank you to everyone that signed!

Since then, the UK government have responded, and on June 25th 2018 they launched a new childhood obesity strategy. Hugh will be following this new strategy in the fourth episode of Britain’s Fat Fight which will air later this year.

Hugh’s statement on ‘Childhood obesity: a plan for action, chapter 2’

"It feels like a real breakthrough that the Government have set a genuinely ambitious target: to halve childhood obesity by 2030. Achieving that would make a difference to millions of young people, and in the long term start to ease the huge burden that obesity is putting on the NHS. Having such a clear target is vitally important, both for directing the government’s efforts, and measuring their success over time.

What we must now do is pull out all the stops to get through the consultancy phase rapidly and actually make this happen. The health of our kids depends on this strategy becoming a reality as soon as possible.

We are currently bombarded with unhealthy food at almost every turn, so it is great that measures such as tackling temptation at tills are being addressed as a part of this strategy. Although some shops have already done this, there are many others that are endlessly pushing confectionary at the checkout – it needs to be a level playing field and all shops should be included in this action.

Finding out what is in the food that we are eating and feeding our families can be a minefield – we need to do everything that we can to support the public in making informed choices. It is really encouraging to see that mandatory, clear calorie labelling in out of home eating is in the new strategy.

These commitments will need to be matched by a determination from Government across departments, from the food industry and from parents to raise a generation who really understand what healthy eating is, and just how important it is to our well-being. I understand that the Government is planning to place restrictions on the sale of unhealthy food, but I’d like to know what they are going to do to promote the good stuff - particularly fresh vegetables.

Although this is very promising, it is just a start. We must not get bogged down in lengthy consultations. We have to act now if we’re going to get anywhere near that exciting target and really put the health of our children first.” - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

ARE YOU PREPARED TO RESTRICT JUNK FOOD MARKETING?

    What we asked:

  • Will you put a 9pm junk food advertising watershed in, so families can watch TV without being bombarded by unhealthy food adverts?
  • What will you do to restrict big-brand discounts and checkout promotions of junk food (which are high in fat, sugar and salt)?
    • Included in chapter 2: YES
    • What chapter 2 says: We intend to ban price promotions, such as buy one get one free and multi-buy offers (BOGOFs) or unlimited refills of unhealthy foods and drinks in the retail and out of home sector through legislation.
      We intend to ban the promotion of unhealthy food and drink by location (at checkouts and the end of aisles and store entrances) in the retail and out of home sector through legislation. We will seek to extend a similar approach to online shopping and the out of home sector ahead of checkout.
  • Will you stop brands from using kids’ cartoon characters and superheroes on packaging to advertise junk food?
    • Included in chapter 2: NO
    • What chapter 2 says: There are no current plans to place a ban on using brand equity and licensed characters, cartoon characters and celebrities to promote HFSS products. The NIHR Obesity Policy Research Unit will continue to review the evidence base of the effect of marketing and advertising on children, including in these areas.
  • Will you protect our kids from online junk food adverts that target them based on where they are, and what they like doing?
    • Included in chapter 2: YES
    • What chapter 2 says: We will consult, before the end of 2018, on introducing a 9pm watershed on TV advertising of HFSS products and similar protection for children viewing adverts online, with the aim of limiting children’s exposure to HFSS advertising and driving further reformulation.

WILL YOU SUPPORT EDUCATIONAL AND MARKETING PROGRAMMES TO GET KIDS EATING MORE VEG AND HELP THEM TO CONSUME LESS OF THE FOOD & DRINK THAT'S DOING THEM HARM?

WILL YOU IMPROVE FRONT-OF-PACK FOOD LABELLING?

CAN YOU GIVE GPs AND PRACTICE NURSES MORE SUPPORT TO SENSITIVELY HELP PATIENTS WITH MANAGING THEIR WEIGHT?

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
&
Jamie Oliver, Chef and Campaigner
Chris Askew, Chief Executive, Diabetes UK
Prof Paul Aveyard, Professor of Behavioural Medicine, University of Oxford
Rosie Boycott, Trustee of Feeding Britain and the Food Foundation
Dr Rangan Chatterjee, GP & Author
Nicola Cowell, Project Manager, Food Newcastle / Sustainable Food Cities
Barbara Crowther, Coordinator, Children’s Food Campaign,
Tam Fry, Chair, National Obesity Forum
Kawther Hashem MSc RNutr, Action on Sugar
Joanna Lacey, Director of Operations, Food Nation CIC
Prof Tim Lang, Centre for Food Policy, City University of London
Prof Eugene Milne, Director of Public Health, Newcastle City Council
Dan Parker, Living Loud
Rob Percival, Policy and Campaigns Manager, Coordinator of the Out to Lunch campaign, Soil Association
Ben Reynolds, Deputy CEO, Sustain
Anna Taylor, Executive Director, Food Foundation
Prof Roy Taylor, Professor of Medicine and Metabolism, Newcastle University
Stephanie Wood, Founder/CEO, School Food Matters
Dr Giles Yeo, University of Cambridge
Martin Tod, Chief Executive Men's Health Forum
Dr Russ Ladwa, Health and Science Committee Chair, British Dental Association
Kim Roberts, CEO of HENRY
Andy Burman, Chief Executive, British Dietetic Association