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Doctors Unite to deliver 'prescription' for UK Obesity epidemic

Medical professionals – from surgeons and psychiatrists to paediatricians and GPs – have set out their recommendations for tackling obesity in a report published today by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC).

Measuring up: the medical profession's prescription for the nation's obesity crisis follows a 6-month inquiry by a steering group comprising representatives from 20 of the Royal Medical Colleges and Faculties. 

The report presents an action plan for future campaigning activity, setting out 10 recommendations for healthcare professionals, local and national government, industry and schools which it believes will help tackle the nation’s obesity crisis.

Recommendations include:

  • Food-based standards to be mandatory in all UK hospitals 
  • A ban on new fast food outlets being located close to schools and colleges
  • A duty on all sugary soft drinks, increasing the price by at least 20%, to be piloted
  • Traffic light food labelling to include calorie information for children and adolescents – with visible calorie indicators for restaurants,  especially fast food outlets
  • £100m in each of the next three years to be spent on increasing provision of weight management services across the country
  • A ban on advertising of foods high in saturated fats, sugar and salt before 9pm
  • Existing mandatory food- and nutrient-based standards in England to be statutory in free schools and academies

Professor Terence Stephenson, a paediatrician and chair of the Academy, said:

“As health professionals, we see it across all our disciplines – from the GP’s surgery to the operating table and everything in between.  So it is no exaggeration to say that it is the biggest public health crisis facing the UK today.   Yet too often, vested interests dub it too complex to tackle.

“It’s now time to stop making excuses and instead begin forging alliances, trying new innovations to see what works and acting quickly to tackle obesity head on - otherwise the majority of this country’s health budget could be consumed by an entirely avoidable condition.”

He added 

“Today’s report marks the start of a campaign. We’ll be working with a range of expert individuals and organisations to take each of these recommendations forward.  The healthcare profession has taken the step of uniting to take action – and we’re calling on others to step up and take responsibility too”.  

icon Measuring Up

Read more about the Academy Obesity Steering Group 

For further information, interview requests, images to accompany the report and all other media enquries please contact:

Melissa Milner  / 020 7092 6005 / 07837 973 413

Or

Lauren Snaith / 020 7092 6067