Government body Public Health England [PHE] is calling on food manufacturers to cut the calories in their products by 20 percent by 2024.
If the target is met, this will prevent more than 35,000 premature deaths over 25 years and there will be savings of almost £9 billion in NHS healthcare and social care costs, according to PHE.
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England says: "In England, more than a third of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, which means they are more likely to be bullied, face stigma and suffer low self-esteem.
"They are also more likely to become overweight or obese adults, increasing their risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
"As it stands in England, almost two-thirds of adults are also overweight or obese."
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the UK has become the 'fat man of Europe'.
The new strategy targets 13 food categories, including savoury biscuits, cooking sauces, sandwiches, ready meals and potato products such as crisps and chips.
Many children eat up to 500 excess calories a day, that’s an extra meal. On average, adults eat about 200 calories more than they need a day.
Obesity levels in the UK are rising and by 2020 eight out of 10 men and almost seven in 10 women could be overweight or obese.
Being overweight increases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and several different types of cancer.
Put simply, people are eating too much unhealthy food – packed full of sugar and saturated fat.
Most of the unhealthy (saturated) fat in the average UK diet comes from: fatty cuts of meat, poultry skin, meat products such as sausages and pies, whole milk and full fat dairy products, coconut oil and palm oil, pastry, cakes and biscuits, sweets and chocolate.
Chicken is not the healthy option – most chickens now contain more fat than protein.
The Government recommends eating less of these foods and more foods containing unsaturated fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, plant-based oils and spreads.
The good news is you don’t have to wait for the food industry to reformulate its food products.
You and your family can achieve a healthy weight for life by replacing meat and dairy foods with healthier plant-based options.
A vegan diet can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The whole family can do it together. Children who eat a plant-based diet are leaner and their BMI difference becomes even greater during adolescence compared to children who eat meat and dairy.
Many experts recommend plant-based diets as a healthy, nutrient-dense approach to weight management and prevention of obesity for adults and children alike.
For more information, see The Incredible Vegan Health report
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
Since you're here...
Plant Based News is a FREE service that receives millions of views each week on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, our weekly newsletter and this website. This takes a lot of our personal time, money and hard work. But we do it because we KNOW it makes a difference. If those following our reporting helped by contributing, we could do even more. Please consider supporting us so we can create further awareness about animal rights, environmentalism, ethical consumerism and the plant-based lifestyle. Not a false narrative - but information that empowers people to make better choices.