Sunday, 21 October, 2018

United Kingdom targets 20% calorie reduction by 2024

Only 15% of men and 44% of women in Northern Ireland know their recommended daily calorie intake Only 15% of men and 44% of women in Northern Ireland know their recommended daily calorie intake
Melissa Porter | 07 March, 2018, 14:28

More prominent food manufacturers and sellers such as McDonald's and Tesco have been advised to reduce amount of calories by 20 per cent in the food products they supply, by 2024. Adults consume on average 200 to 300 calories too many each day.

The programme covers foods such as pizzas, ready meals, ready-made sandwiches, meat products, and savoury snacks. It is estimated that a significant number of premature deaths could be prevented by helping to bring these numbers down.

The author of Re-Nourish: A Simple Way to Eat Well said: 'It is not about thinking what you can take out of your diet, but more about thinking: what positive things can I add in?

According to figures from 2015/6 63.6% of adults are overweight or obese in Suffolk and 61.9% in Essex. More than 60% of adults are also too heavy.

Combined, these three measures mean health officials are taking direct action to influence the consumption of foods responsible for half of children's calories.

That's the latest proposal from Public Health England (PHE) for tackling the nation's growing obesity problem.

Obesity rates in the United Kingdom are among the worst in Europe and two-thirds of adults and a third of children are overweight or obese. "These not only shorten lives, but also put unsustainable pressure on our health service".

The body also raised concerns that treating obesity is costing the NHS around £6bn per year, with the obesity crisis leading to a range of other health issues including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

"We have a responsibility to act, which is why we are supporting families to make the healthy choice".

That is that people should aim to eat 400 calories for breakfast, 600 calories for lunch and 600 calories for dinner.

Steve Brine, the government's public health and social care minister, said the calorie reduction program was the first of its kind in the world.

Major high street brands are partnering with PHE on the campaign, signposting to meals that meet the 400-600-600 tip. Girls in the same weight category exceed the recommended limit by 290 calories a day.

PHE chief nutritionist Alison Tedstone added: "It's hard for people to make healthy food choices, whether for themselves or their families".

The next step in the program involves engagement with food retailers; manufacturers; major restaurant, café, takeaway and delivery companies; and health and charity sectors to set specific category guidelines.

But after a sugar reduction plan launched in 2017, in which companies making products directed at children were challenged to reduce sugar content by 20% by 2020, England is now "looking at what's going on in totality" across the food industry, making companies more accountable.

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