Well, it’s finally out there. I know I should be jumping for joy to see it, but alas, although I haven’t even read it yet, the public reaction tells me that the UK Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy doesn’t hit the mark.
I’ve had an opportunity to pore over it now, and here’s what I think.
Reading the introduction inspires me to go out for a run; this is serious stuff that we can’t ignore. More needs to be done to get the facts into the public domain and reinforce the severity in the minds of those not inclined to read Government strategy papers.
There’s absolute sense in what they state about long-term, sustainable change only being achievable through the active engagement of schools, communities, families and individuals. This is the core objective for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. It follows the basic principles of change, as we must raise awareness, create the desire, and help people to understand what they can do to make a difference.
The sugar tax is a positive step, but is it enough? If I were a food manufacturer, I don’t think I’d be too worried about any of this..
I see a lot of wishy-washy wording that leaves plenty of room for localised interpretation. I would have liked to have seen some more decisive moves rather than merely ‘encouraging’ change with a limp carrot.
The plans around sport for schoolchildren are great, but I’m concerned that the mindset will become “I do lots of physical activity, so I can get away with eating whatever I want”. The balance is paramount, and if those affected don’t have a clear understanding, then what hope do they have?
In conclusion, I’m glad that we have this, but we had a real opportunity for transformational change, and I can’t help but feel terribly disappointed that we didn’t grab it with both hands and really capitalise on it.
As stated, the launch of this plan represents the start of a conversation, rather than the final word. I for one will be making sure that I’m involved in that conversation, will you?