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Britain needs to go on a diet, says top health official

07 March 2018 08:52

Britain needs to go on a diet

Britain needs to go on a diet

The portion sizes of some of Britain's most popular foods must be cut and the nation needs to "go on a diet", according to health experts,

Public Health England (PHE) is targeting certain food groups and meals, including pizzas, ready meals, processed meat and takeaways, in a new tirade against obesity.

20% less calories by 2024

The government agency has also urged the food industry to start using healthier ingredients and encourage the public to opt for lower calorie options.

The overall aim of the initiative is to cut calorie consumption by 20% by 2024.

Other measures being taken to ensure better health in the British population - and particularly in children - are the sugar reduction programme, launched last year, and the sugar drinks levy, which will come into force in March.

Combined, these three measures should ensure the reduction of calories consumed by children, thus reducing the obesity rate among the UK's young population.

Britain needs to go on a diet

PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie has stated that the measures are being taken for the sake of adults just as much as children.

"Britain needs to go on a diet," he said. "Children and adults routinely eat too many calories, and it's why so many are overweight or obese."

Studies show that only 64% of children aged 10-11 are considered a healthy weight, with 14.3% overweight and 20% obese.

In order to lower this percentage, food manufacturers, food outlets and supermarkets have been told to reduce the amount of calories in various food products, including cooking sauces and dressings, biscuits and crackers, pasta products, meat products such as pies, sausages and burgers, and food-to-go, like sandwiches.

PHE has said it is prepared to ask the government to legislate, should the action not be taken.

The agency is also campaigning to encourage adults to eat no more than 400 calories at breakfast and 600 at lunch and dinner. Currently, adults eat around 300 calories more than they should per day.

PHE chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone said the 400-600-600 tip would make it easier for "people to make healthier choices" by being able to judge what they should be eating in each sitting.

"To get traction on this, the big-selling things need to change," she said.