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Childhood Obesity

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st March 2017.

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Photo of Rushanara Ali Rushanara Ali Labour, Bethnal Green and Bow 12:00 am, 21st March 2017

What recent assessment he has made of the Government’s effectiveness in tackling childhood obesity in the inner cities.

Photo of Nicola Blackwood Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Our childhood obesity plan includes a number of measures, such as the soft drinks industry levy, reformulation and school-based interventions, that will help all children, including those in inner-city communities. We will monitor progress carefully, including through the national child measurement programme. We will routinely publish developments on the all key measurements for the programme, but it stands to reason that those who are most in need will benefit most from these interventions.

Photo of Rushanara Ali Rushanara Ali Labour, Bethnal Green and Bow

I thank the Minister for that answer, but it remains the case that childhood obesity is twice as high in deprived areas as it is in more affluent areas. In Tower Hamlets, 20% of children are obese and a third are overweight. What will the Government do to reduce childhood obesity and when will the plan be published?

Photo of Nicola Blackwood Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The childhood obesity plan has already been published. I think the hon. Lady may be talking about the reformulation targets and the baseline data, which are coming out imminently. The experts in Public Health England are working feverishly to make sure that the data are exactly as they should be. One measure I think she will be particularly keen to see is the investment in schools committed to by the Chancellor in the Budget, including the voluntary healthy rating scheme, which will be published in June.

Photo of David Nuttall David Nuttall Conservative, Bury North

What measure is being used to ascertain the success or otherwise of the strategy and when will we know whether it has worked or not?

Photo of Nicola Blackwood Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

As I mentioned, we will be publishing the reformulation baselines against which all future success will be measured. They will include measurement across all industry targets. In addition, we will of course have the voluntary healthy rating scheme for primary schools to recognise and encourage their contribution to preventing obesity.